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JFitst ffifenetal Coitflwss of tlje anglfl*J^imrtcan Colonies 




Vol. I a/a,- 




Copi/right, 187S, 
By John Gorham Palfrey. 

Copyright, 1883, 
By John Carver Palfret. 



M. A. P. 



J. G. P 


1873, March 11. 


The first two volumes of this work were pub- 
lished seven years ago. The first three volumes 
appeared last August, under the title of " A Com- 
pendious History of the First Century of New 
England." The fourth volume, now first issued, 
completes the execution of my plan. I do not 
propose to extend the work beyond the period al- 
ready surveyed in these four volumes. 

The last chapter of the book is not embraced 
in the title, and does not pretend to be so much 
as a compendious history of the time therein 
treated. But the reader may find it convenient 
as a slight summary of the events which immedi- 
ately preceded the War of Independence. 

Caubridge, Massachusetts; 
1873, March. 


Of the periods of past New England history 
each consisting of eighty-six years, the third has 
lately closed. In the year 1602 the Englishman 
Bartholomew Gosnold built a house on land now 
belonging to Massachusetts, and in the spring of 
1603 the family of Stuart came to the throne of 
Great Britain. On the 19th of April, 1689, the im- 
prisonment, by the people, of the Royal Governor, 
marked the First Revolution in New England. 
On the 19th of April, 1775, the Second Revolution 
was inaugurated by the fight at Lexington and 
Concord. On the 19th of April, 1861, at the open- 
ing of the Third Revolution, which was to rescue 
the country from the domination of the Slave 
Power, Massachusetts troops fought their way 
through a city of Maryland to the relief of the 
National Capital. 

Through the first two of these periods, and 
through more than half of the third, the English 
inhabitants of New England continued to be a 
remarkably homogeneous people. Since the year 


1830, there has been a large immigration,— 
chiefly of Irish, and, next in number to them, 
of Germans. Down to that time the population 
consisted, with very few exceptions, of the descend- 
ants of twenty-one thousand Puritan Englishmen, 
who had come over before the meeting of the 
Long Parliament in 1640. Through six genera- 
ations, this peculiar people, singularly sequestered 
from foreign influences, was forming a distinct 
character by its own discipline, and working out 
its own problems within an isolated sphere. 

The economical progress of New England has 
been marvellous. Massachusetts, of which the 
recent statistics have been more carefully collected 
than those of any other of the six States, presents 
a sufficient example. The soil of Massachusetts is 
barren, and she has no natural staple commodity 
of great value in the markets of the world. Yet 
at the present time, two centuries and a third from 
the date of her foundation, her taxable property — 
exclusive of property belonging to institutions of 
religion, education, and benevolence — amounts to 
a thousand millions of dollars. Equally divided, it 
would afford more than eight hundred and eighty 
dollars each to every man, woman, and child with- 
in her borders. From the reserved fruits of the 
labor of seven generations " she could give a dol- 


lar to each individual of the thousand millions of 
the inhabitants of the earth, and still have all her 
schools, meeting-houses, town-houses, alms-houses, 
gaols, and literary, benevolent, and scientific insti- 
tutions left as nest-eggs to begin the world anew." 
The value of the registered products of the labor 
of her people for the year ending June 1, 1855, — 
undoubtedly falling far short of the actual amount, 
— was two hundred and ninety-five millions eight 
hundred and twenty thousand six hundred and 
eighty-one dollars. 

New England, in the political relations which 
through her brief history she has sustained, has not 
been inactive nor unimportant. In her primitive 
weakness she kept her lands for the mother country 
against Dutch plotters on one border and French 
on the other. From the massacre at Schenectady 
in 1690 to the fall of Quebec in 1759, her men 
and money upheld the British empire in America 
against the encroachments of the rival monarchy. 
Her seemingly Quixotic, but magnificently suc- 
cessful enterprise against the French post of Louis- 
burgh, in 1745, was not only the single event 
creditable to the arms of England in the war of 
the Austrian succession, but it gave peace to Eu- 
rope. Adopting for the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle 
the basis of the status ante bellum, England bought 


back with the retrocession of Louisburgh to France 
the conquests which the more fortunate arms of her 
enemy had been wresting from her on the other 
side of the water. In 1757, during the last inter- 
colonial war, nearly one third part of the effective 
men of Massachusetts were in the field, and tEixes 
on real estate in Boston amounted to two third 
parts of the rents. In 1759, the General Court of 
that colony excused themselves to Governor Pow- 
nall for not being more liberal by referring to the 
fact that the military service of the preceding year 
had cost a million of dollars.* 

But such are not the greatest benefactions for 
which England is indebted to the community that 
bears her name. To the Puritans the Tory his- 
torian Hume ascribed the liberty of England. But 
the Puritans never struck decisively for English 
freedom, till Independency obtained the control of 
the Parliament and the array in 1645 ; and it was 
the pens of learned ministers living in New Eng- 
land that in Old England raised Independency to 
that position of command. It was Hooker of Con- 
necticut, and Cotton, and Shepard, and Allen, and 
Norton, and Mather, of Massachusetts, that organ- 
ized the victories of Fairfax and Cromwell. In 

* Minot, Continuation of the History of the Province of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, ii 37, 49. 


former times this relation was understood, however 
now forgotten. " We may look for England in 
England, and find nothing but New England." 
" The Scots at Newcastle, to whom the King re- 
tired for safeguard, had a brave occasion to show 
faith and loyalty ; but they kept their wont, and 
sold their master, as Judas did his to the Jews, 
to the race of New England, the Independent sal- 
vages." * These words of the Tory bishop Hacket 
present, with his own coloring, a specimen of a 
class of facts familiar to his contemporaries, though 
they have since slipped out of the histories. 

The preparation for separate national existence 
had nowhere in the colonies an earlier date than 
in New England ; and on her soil the War of 
American Independence began. Of the Conti- 
nental troops and militia registered in the war- 
ofiice as having served in that contest, the States 
of New England, then four in number, furnished 
no fewer than 147,704, while only 71,140 were sent 
to the field by the six States south of the Potomac. 
Massachusetts alone contributed 83,092 men, or 
about twelve thousand more than the aggregate 
contributions of the six Southern States. So, alike 
in time and in efiiciency, the people of New Eng- 
land were leaders in that movement which has 
* Scrinia Reserata, etc., 78, 203. 


lately issued in the deliverance of the United States 
of America from the unspeakable curse of slavery ; 
and to the armies and fleets that overthrew the 
despotism of the Slave Power she supplied not 
fewer than three eighth parts of a million of fight- 
ing men.* 

It is to the first of the three periods of the past 
history of New England that the present work 
relates. It tells the primitive story of a vast tribe 
of men, numbering at the present time, it is likely, 
some nine or ten millions. Exactness in such an 
estimate is not attainable, but it would probably 
be coming somewhere near the truth to divide the 
present white population of the United States into 
three equal parts, — one, belonging to the New 

* The figures, as stated in reports of the Adjutant-Generals 
of the several States, are as follows ; namely, — 

Massachusetts ..... 165,234 

Maine 71,600 

Connecticut 64,468 

Vermont 34,555 

New Hampshire 33,258 

Rhode Island 24,278 


But the tables of the Adjutant -Grenerals of Connecticut and 
New Hampshire are brought down no further than to April, 1865, 
and those of the Adjutant-General of Maine include nothing of that 


England stock ; another, the posterity of English- 
men who settled in the other Atlantic colonies ; and 
a third, consisting of the aggregate of Irish, Scotch, 
French, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, and 
other immigrants, and their descendants. Accord- 
ing to the United States Census of 1860, the New 
England States had in that year 3,135,283 inhabi- 
tants, of which number 469,338 were of foreign 
birth. On the other hand, not much fewer than a 
million of natives of New England, — often persons 
not inconsiderable in respect to activity, property, 
or influence, — were supposed to be living in other 
parts of the Union, at the beginning of the late 
civil war. The New England race has contrib- 
uted largely to the population of the great State 
of New York, and makes a majority in some of 
the new States further west. Considerable num- 
bers of them are dispersed in distant parts of the 
world, where commerce or other business invites 
enterprise, though they do not often establish them- 
selves for life in foreign countries. I presume there 
is one third of the white people of these United 
States, wherever now residing, of whom no in- 
dividual can peruse these volumes without read- 
ing the history of his own progenitors. 

Boston, Massachusetts ; 
November 4, 1865. 








The Cabots and Cortereal 2 

Verazzano, Gomez, and Gilbert 8 

Raleigh, Gosnold, and Pring 4 

Waymouth and Gorges 5 

The London Colony 6 

The Plymouth Colony 6 

Abortive Expedition to the Kennebec 7 

Captain John Smith 8 

His First Voyage to Virginia 10 

Founding of Jamestown 10 

Smith's Adventures in Virginia 11 

His Return to England 15 

His " General History " and " True Travels " 15 

His First Voyage to North Virginia 15 

The Country named New England 16 

Visits of Vines and Dermer 17 



Mountains, Rivers, andClimate 20 

Soil, Minerals, and Forests 22 

Fishes and Birds 24 

Reptiles, Insects, and Quadrupeds 26 





Pliysical Conformation of the American Indian 27 

Wide Diffusion of the Algonquin Race 28 

The Etetchemins and Abenaquis 29 

Other New-England Tribes 29 

Clothing, Dwellings, and Food 30 

Manufactures and Utensils 33 

Domestic Relations 84 

Propertj' and Trade 36 

Mental Capacity 36 

Government 88 

Language 89 

Religion 41 

Social Relations 44 



Puritans and Nonconformists in England 47 

Separatists and Brownists 48 

Congregation at Scrooby 48 

Emigration to Holland 49 

Removal to Leyden 50 

Scheme for another Removal 51 

Negotiation with the Virginia Company 64 

Wincob's Patent 66 

Terms of the Agreement with English Partners 65 

Embarkation at Delft Haven 67 

Departure from Southampton 58 

Return of the Speedwell 58 

Final Departure of the Mayflower 58 

Passengers by the Mayflower 59 

Arrival at Cape Cod 60 



The Compact for Government 61 

John Carver elected Governor 61 



Explorations of the Country 62 

Landing at Plymouth 64 

First Winter at Plymouth 65 

Military Organization 66 

Visit of Samoset 6R 

Treaty with Massasoit 67 

Death of Carver 69 

Bradford chosen Governor 69 

Sickness and Mortality 70 

Expeditions into the Interior 71 

Indian Conspiracy against Massasoit 71 

Arrival of the Fortune 72 

Patent from the Council for New England 73 

Departure of the Fortune 73 



"Weston's Plantation at Wcssagussett 75 

Visit of Winslow to Massasoit 76 

Shipwreck of Weston 76 

Grants of the Council for New England 77 

Arrival of Robert Gorges 78 

New Patent to John Pierce 79 

Scarcity of Food 79 

Arrival of the Ann and Little James 82 

Improved Prospects 83 

John Robinson 84 

Arrival of John Lyford 84 

Emancipation from the Adventurers 85 

Neighboring Settlements 87 

Thomas Morton of Merry Mount 87 

French and Dutch Colonies 89 



English Politics '. 92 

John White, of Dorchester ....*. 94 



Settlement at Cape Ann 94 

Settlement at Naumkeag (Salem) 96 

Charter of Massachusetts 98 

lligginson's Account of the Settlements 99 

Organization of a Church at Salem 101 

Expulsion of Churclmien 103 

Increase of Immigration 104 

Dan for a Transfer of the Cliarter to New England 105 

Jolm Winthrop chosen Governor 106 

The Massachusetts Company 106 

Departure and Voyage of the Arbella 110 



Aniral of Winthrop and his Company 113 

Sickness and Deaths at Salem 114 

Ciiuroli at Charlestown 115 

Courts of Assistants 115 

Epidemic Sickness at Charlestown 116 

Settlement and General Court at Shawmut (Boston) 116 

Plantations in Massachusetts 118 

Sickness and Famine 119 

Annual Election 120 

Religious Test for Freemen 121 

Disaffection at Watertown 124 

Furtlier Immigration 127 

Boston the Capital Town 128 

Early Kvlaiions with the Natives 129 

Scanty Harvest 131 

Complaints in England against the Colony 132 



Renewal of Immigration 134 

John Cotton 135 

Order in Council rehiting to New England 136 

Deputies from the Towns 137 



Governor "Winthrop superseded 139 

Slow Growth of Plymouth 141 

New Patent for Plymouth 142 

Pecuniary Embarrassments 143 

New Settlements 144 

French and Dutch Plantations 145 

Plymouth Factory on the Connecticut 146 

Legislation of Plymouth 147 



Condition of Massachusetts after Four Years 148 

The Freemen, Magistrates, and Ciergy 149 

Dangers to the Colony 150 

Proceedings of the General Court 155 

Dissolution of the Council for New England 158 

The Cliarter endangered 159 

Roger Williams and the Salem Church 161 

Banishment of Williams 165 

Settlement of Providence , 166 



Governor Haynes 170 

Municipal System of New England 172 

Sir Henry Vane and Hugh Peter 173 

Vane elected Governor of Massachusetts 175 

Magistrates for Life 176 

Project of a Code of Laws 177 

Project for a Settlement in Connecticut 178 

Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone 179 

Dorchester and Watertown Plantations 181 

Emigration from Newtown to Connecticut 182 

Primitive Administration in Connecticut 183 

The Pequot War 184 

Captain John Mason 1 86 

Attack on the Pequot Fort 188 

Conclusion of the War 192 





Mrs. Ann Hutchinson 195 

John Whcelwriglit 198 

Disaffection of Governor Vane 199 

Restoration of Winthrop 201 

Departure of Vane 203 

Synod at Cambridge 205 

Punishment of Antinomian Disturbers 206 

Mrs. HutcliinsoH's Trial 207 

Excommunication and Banisliment of Mrs. Hutchinson 209 



Emigration of Antinomians to Aquetnet 211 

Dissensions in the New Colony 212 

Eastern Settlements 214 

Hansard Knollys, John Underbill and Thomas Larkham . . . 216 

Death of Jolin Mason 218 

Annexation of the Piscataqua Settlements to Massachusetts . 219 

Gorgeana 221 

Settlement of Pejepscot 222 

The Lygonia or Plougli Patent. 223 

George Cleaves and Ricliard Vines 224 



Theophilus Eaton and John Davenport 225 

Settlement of Quinnipiack (New Haven) 226 

Organization of the Government 228 

Milford and Guilford 229 

Eaton chosen Governor of New Haven Colony 231 

Frame of Government in Connecticut 233 

Settlement of Fairfield and Stratford 234 

Saybrook, Springfield, and Southampton 235 

Edward Winslow in England 237 

John Norton and Charles Chauncy at Plymouth 240 

Early Legislation of Plymouth 241 



Election of Deputies 242 

Boundaries 243 

Transfer of the Patent to the Freemen 244 

Death of Brewster 245 



Founding of Harvard College 247 

Legislation and Elections in Massachusetts 249 

Question about the Number of Deputies 250 

Wintlirop's Letter to the Commissioners for Plantations 252 

Election of Governor Bellingham 254 

Organization of Four Counties 256 

Two Houses of Legislature 257 

Scheme for a Colonial Confederacy 259 

Objects of the Confederation 261 

Articles of Confederation '. 268 





Conditions of the Franchise , 271 

Annual Elections 272 

Magistrates and Deputies 273 

Organization of Towns 274 

Administration of Justice 276 

Iiegal Code of Massachusetts 279 

Cotton's " Abstract of the Laws of New England " 279 

« The Body of Liberties " 280 

ObUgation of Religious Observances 283 






Independency in New England 285 

Organization of Churches 286 

Order of Worship 288 

Books and Education 289 

Military Organization 291 

Employments 292 

Roads and Dwellings 295 

Furniture and Dress 297 

Diet 298 

Amusements 299 

Language 300 



The Narragansett Indians 302 

Samuel Gorton and his Company 304 

Settlement at Shawomet ( Warwick) 306 

Miantonomo and Uncas , 307 

Surrender and Imprisonment of the Party at Shawomet .... 310 

Their Conviction for Blasphemy 311 

Cession of the Narragansett Country to the King 312 

Resentment of the Narragausetts 313 

Strength of the Confederacy 314 

Dutch and French Colonies 815 

Internal Politics of Massachusetts 317 

Relations to the Mother Country 319 

Conflict of Authority in Boston Harbor 320 



Presbytery and Independency 322 

The Westminster Assembly ^ 323 

Presbyterian Cabal in Massachusetts 325 

Mission of Edward Winslow to England 327 

Cambridge Synod and Platform 329 



Constitution of Congregationalism 331 

Undertaking to Evangelize the Natives 383 

John Eliot and Thomas Mayliew 334 

Society for Propagating the Gospel 33i 

Dispute with French Adventurers 33C 

New Netherland 33i 



Winslow and Gorton in England 339 

" Simplicitie's Defence " and " Hypocrisie Unmasked " . . . . 341 

Return of Gorton from England 342 

Gorton's Company at Warwick 343 

Patent of Providence Plantations 344 

Organization of a Government 846 

Alarm from the Narragansett Indians 347 

Preparations of the Confederacy for War 348 

Treaty of Peace 849 



Dispute between Massachusetts and Connecticut 352 

Proposed Revision of the Articles of Confederation 354 

Impost levied at Boston 365 

Proposed Change of Representation in Massachusetts 366 

Administration of Governor Dudley 357 

Arraignment and Acquittal of Winthrop 369 

Institution of Common Schools 361 

Death of Thomas Hooker 361 

Death of Grovernor Wintlirop 362 



Relations to New Netherland 864 

Dissension between Massaclmsetts and the Confederacy 869 

Declaration of War against Ninigret 871 



Dissent of Massachusetts 872 

Expedition against Ninigret 374 

Missionary Operations 375 

Missionary Services of John Eliot 377 

The May hews, Father and Son 878 

Contributions to Harvard College 380 

Arrangements for a History of New England 380 



Coddington's Commission as Governor of Rhode Island. .. . 881 

Rhode Island Baptists 382 

Treatment of John Clarke in Massachusetts 388 

Williams and Clarke in England 386 

Revocation of Coddington's Commission 387 

Dissensions in Providence Plantations 389 

Restoration of the former Government 390 

Affairs of Plymouth 392 

Return of John Winthrop the younger from England 394 

Plantation in the Pequot Country 395 

Rapid increase of Connecticut 396 

John Winthrop the younger elected Governor 397 

New Haven Colony 398 

Laws of New Haven 399 



Administration of Governor Endicott 400 

Enlargement of Massachusetts 401 

Annexation of Maine and Lygonia to Massachusetts 402 

Cromwell's Plans for Ireland and for Jamaica 404 

Prosperity of New England 405 

Relations with Cromwell 406 

Coinage of Money 407 

Death of several eminent Founders 408 





The name New England has at different times 
been used to designate regions of very different 
extent. At an early period of the English coloni- 
zation it denoted only the settlements within and 
near to Boston harbor. Fifty years later, it was 
given by a royal decree to the whole tract of coun- 
try stretching along the border of the Atlantic 
Ocean from the peninsula of Nova Scotia to Del- 
aware Bay. In present use, the name stands for 
the six States of the American Union that lie 
furthest to the northeast ; namely, Maine, New 
Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, 
and Connecticut. 

These States cover about two third parts of 
what may be regarded as a great peninsula, which 
Is joined to the continent by a narrow isthmus 
between the River St. Lawrence and the upper 
waters of Hudson's River, and which would be 


converted into an island if the Isthmus were de- 
pressed only one hundred and forty feet nnore. 
New England extends through six degrees of lati- 
tude, about midway between the equator and the 
north pole, and from the sixty-seventh degree of 
west longitude to the seventy-fourth. 

It is probable that New England was visited by 
Europeans before the voyage of Columbus to the 
West Indies. There is reason to believe, that, as 
early as about the end of the tenth century, some 
adventurous navigators from Iceland landed on 
the American shore ; and there are circumstances 
pointing to the country about Massachusetts*Bay 
and Narragansett Bay as the region which they 
visited. But their voyages, if repeated, were after 
no long time discontinued; and for five centuries 
more this country remained unknown to the East- 
ern world. 

Five years had passed after the first voyage of 
Columbus to the West Indies, when John Cabot 
and his son Sebastian, mariners of Bristol in Eng- 
land, on a voyage expected by them to termi- 

1497 nate at the eastern coast of Asia, were 
June 24. ^rrcstcd by the American shore of Labra- 
dor or Newfoundland. Changing their course 
towards the southwest, they sailed in that direc- 
tion as far as the thirty-eighth degree of north lati- 
tude, and probably saw the headlands of Maine 
and Massachusetts. 

Gaspar Cortereal, a Portuguese, followed in 
1500-1601. nearly the same track. The Florentine 


Verrazzano, in the service of King Francis the 
First of France, discovered what is now 


called Hudson's River, and for several days 
anchored his vessel in Narragansett Bay. The 
Spaniard, Stephen Gomez, in quest of the 
Northwest passage, for the Emperor Charles 
the Fifth, is believed to have sailed near to Cape 
Cod, and through Long Island Sound. 

The fishing grounds of America had now at- 
tracted attention and enterprise. Hundreds of 
French, English, Portuguese, and Spanish fishing- 
vessels met on the banks of Newfoundland. At 
length, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the spirit 
of maritime adventure, so vigorously developed 
at that time in England, prompted a project for 
establishing a colony on the continent of America. 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter 
Raleigh, received from the Queen a patent em- 
powering him to discover, possess, and govern all 
remote heathen and barbarous countries not occu- 
pied by any Christian people. With two hundred 
and sixty men, embarked in five vessels, he reached 
the harbor of St. Johns in Newfoundland, and, in 
the name of the sovereign of England, 1553. 
took formal possession of the country for ^"k-^- 
two hundred leagues around. Sickness broke out 
among his men. Some died. Many deserted. 

In search of provisions, or for further dis- 

. T Aug. 20. 

covery, he put to sea agam. In a storm 

the little vessel which conveyed him went to the 

bottom with all her company. Another Sept. 9. 


of his vessels had been wrecked before. The rest 
of the five now returned to England. 

Raleigh obtained a renewal to himself of Gil- 
bert's patent. He was disabled from using it by 
his recently frustrated attempts to found a colony 
on the Roanoke; but, with his consent, the Earl of 
Southampton fitted out a small vessel, under the 
command of Bartholomew Gosnold, for explora- 
tion in "the north part of Virginia." Gosnold 
1502. sailed from Falmouth with a company of 
March 26. thirty-two persons, of whom eight were sea- 
men, and twenty were to become planters. His 
voyage across the ocean occupied seven weeks. He 
looked into Massachusetts Bay, and landed on the 
extremity of Cape Cod, to which promontory he gave 
that name on account of the great quan- 
titles of codfish there taken by his people. 
On a little island called by the natives Cuttyhunk, 
and belonging to the group now known as the 
Elizabeth Islands, he made arrangements for a 
permanent occupation, and built a palisad®ed 
house. But the supply of provisions was scanty. 
Some demonstrations of the natives were alarm- 
ing. The men became dispirited and mutinous, 
and in five weeks after coming within sight 
of land, the whole party sailed again for 

The intelligence they carried back did not prove 
to be discouraging. A voyage made to the 
1803 ^^^*^'''y P^i^ts of New England by Mar- 
tin Pring, in the service of some merchants 


and others of Bristol, was only for trading pur- 
poses; but Lord Southampton, still intent on a 
settlement, and perceiving the necessity of further 
information in order to the maturing of his plans, 
sent out Captain George Waymouth, with jg^^g 
a single vessel, to discover and explore. ^*"**^^- 
He made land at the Island of Nantucket, and 
sailed some fifty or sixty miles up one of the 
rivers of Maine. Here, in absurd disregard 
of the interests as well as of the honor of his 
employers, he kidnapped five of the natives, whom 
he presently conveyed to his own country. 

He had scarcely left New England, when it was 
visited by a party of Frenchmen, who came in 
quest of a place of settlement more convenient 
than that on the shore of the Bay of Fundy, where 
they had first thought of planting. In their ex- 
amination of the coast of Maine and Massa- 
chusetts, disasters overtook them. The 


weather was stormy. They lost some of 
their number in attacks from the savages, and 
a vessel by shipwreck. And the enterprise was 

The last of this series of abortive undertakings 
to establish a European colony in New England 
was projected on a large scale. Among the per- 
sons connected with it, Sir John Popham, Chief 
Justice of England, was the most considerable, 
and Sir Ferdinando Gorges was one of the most 
active. Gorges was a Someroetshire man, who 
had been concerned in the conspiracy of the Earl 


of Essex, and had afterwards been induced to 
testify against him, thereby bringing upon himself 
the lasting dislike of an important portion of the 
English people. At the accession of King James, 
Gorges was made Governor of Plymouth, and was 
residing there when Captain Waymouth 
returned from his visit to Maine. The 
active mind of Gorges became intent on plans 
for colonization in that country. He communi- 
cated his zeal to Chief Justice Popham, with whom 
he seems to have been connected by marriage ; and 
a company was formed by them of gentlemen, 
merchants, and others, in the west of England. 
At the same time another company was organized 
in London, for the purpose of renewing the hith- 
erto frustrated attempts to colonize Virginia. 
The two associations combined their plans, and 
1606. obtained from the King a patent in which 
April 10 they were distinguished from each other 
as the First and the Second Colony. The First, 
or London Colony, was authorized to make settle- 
ments on the American coast, and fifty miles in- 
land, between the thirty-fourth and the forty-first 
degrees of north latitude ; to the Second, or Plym- 
outh Colony, was accorded the same privilege be- 
tween the thirty-eighth degree of latitude and the 
forty-fifth. Neither colony might plant within a 
hundred miles of a settlement of the other. Both 
alike had power to expel intruders, to coin money, 
to impose taxes and duties for their own occasions 
for twenty-one years, and for seven years to import 


goods from other parts of the British dominions, 
free of duty. Both were to pay to the King one 
fifth part of the products of gold and silver mines, 
and one fifteenth part of whatever copper should 
be found. Both colonies were to be under the 
supervision of a council, called the Council of Vir- 
giniaj consisting of thirteen members, to be ap- 
pointed from time to time by the Crown, and to 
exercise their authority agreeably to royal instruc- 
tions. The settlers of each colony were to be gov- 
erned for the King, and according to his directions, 
by a council of his appointment residing on the 

A little more than a year after obtaining their 
incorporation, the Plymouth Colony de- igoy. 
spatched three ships to the American coast, ^*^ ^^' 
with a hundred passengers, to make a settle- 
ment. Landing by the mouth of the River 

° •' Aug. 8. 

Kennebec, they formally inaugurated their 
enterprise with prayers, a sermon, and a reading 
of the patent and of the ordinances under which 
it had been decreed by the authorities at home 
that they should live. With idle ostentation 
members of the company were invested with the 
titles of President, Admiral, Master of the Ord- 
nance, Commander of the Forces, Marshal, Secre- 
tary, and Governor of the Fort. 

No settlement was made. Before the autumn, 
one half of the party became discouraged, and re- 
turned to England with the ships that had brought 
them. Forty-five persons held out through the 


winter. The President fell sick and died, and 
news came of the death of the brother of the Ad- 
miral, an event which required his presence in Eng- 
land. In the spring, the last of the company went 
home, and still New England remained uncolo- 

Six years more passed, when the country was 
visited by a person whose name, though it rather 
owes its place in history to his exploits elsewhere, 
connects itself with New England by reason of 
the important contribution made by him to the 
knowledge of its geography. John Smith, a native 
of Lincolnshire, and now near thirty-five years 
of age, had already passed through a series of ad- 
ventures of a character the most extraordinary, 
and of which many of the incidents that are re- 
corded are not to be received without caution. 
Running away from his home while yet 
a boy, he took service in the Netherlands. 
About the time when he came of age he set off to 
enlist in the Imperial army, then fighting the Turks 
in Hungary. Before he got to France he was 
robbed of all his money and effects, and was saved 
by a peasant's kindness from freezing to death. 
In the Mediterranean, having been thrown over- 
board by a company of pilgrims, who imputed to 
him, as a heretic, the disaster of a storm which had 
arisen, he scarcely saved his life by swimming to 
an island. 

Arrived at the Imperial camp, Smith presently 
recommended himself to favor by working a tele- 


graph ingeniously contrived, and by the invention 
of some destructive pyrotechnic missiles, which he 
called " fiery dragons." Three Turkish champions 
having, " to delight the ladies," defied as many 
Christian cavaliers to mortal combat, Smith took 
the whole business upon himself, and successively 
vanquished and beheaded all of the vainglorious 

Taken prisoner in battle, he was sold as a slave 
in a market near Adrianople. A Pasha bought 
him, for a present to his mistress. The lady, fear- 
ing that he might be again sold out of her reach, 
sent him to be protected by her brother in a for- 
tress by the Black Sea. The "Tymor" did not 
share in his sister's tenderness, but had Smith 
stripped naked, his head and beard shaved, and " a 
great ring of iron, with a long stalk bowed like a 
sickle, riveted about his neck." Being the last 
comer, he succeeded to the unpleasant offices 
from which his predecessors had been advanced, 
and his service was that of " slave of slaves to 
them all." 

The " Tymor" coming alone one day to look after 
him, Smith took the wished-for opportunity to beat 
out his brains with his " threshing bat." He hid 
the body under a truss of straw, after stripping it 
to array himself in the clothes, filled a knapsack 
with corn, leaped upon a horse, and made into the 
wilderness, where " God did direct him to the great 
way of Castragan." 

He got back among Christians, and after roving 


over almost all Europe, proceeded to take a look 
at Africa. While he was accidentally on board 
of an English frigate in a port of Morocco, a storm 
drove her to sea ; and before she regained her moor- 
ing, Smith had the satisfaction of assisting in a 
desperate engagement between her and two Span- 
ish ships of war. 

Returning to England when the excitement 
created by Gosnold's expedition was still fresh, 
and when arrangements were making for the 
patent of the council of Virginia, he immediately 
came into relations with the projectors of the 

igQg London Colony, and sailed with the first 
Dee, 19. company fitted out by them for America. 
In what is now called Virginia he passed two 
eventful years, and established a claim to be ac- 
counted the founder of that commonwealth. 

Smith reached America as a prisoner, under a 
charge of plotting with others to murder the law- 
ful leaders of the expedition, and make himself 

iQQY king in the country to be occupied. The 
April 26. emigrants came to land at the capes of 
Chesapeake Bay, and sailed up James River, where 
they laid out a town, calling it by the 
name of Jamestown. In the orders brought 
from England, Smith was named as one of the 
council of government. But Wingfield, the Presi- 
dent, was his enemy, and he was excluded from 
that trust. The colony, however, soon fell into 
trouble and danger, from which nobody but Smith 
was thought able to extricate it ; and before winter 


he had brought affairs at Jamestown into some 
order, not however till after there had been scenes 
of violence. 

Having gone up the River Chickahominy with a 
few men on an expedition for hunting and dis- 
covery, and having parted from all his companions 
except two Indian guides, he was set upon by a 
party of the natives, who wounded him with an ar- 
row in the thigh. Loosing his garters, and tying 
one of his Indians with them to his left arm, he 
handled him as a shield, and, thus protected, killed 
three of his assailants and wounded several others. 
But his crippled leg was a disadvantage. He could 
not extricate himself from a morass into which he 
had sunk in attempting to withdraw ; and being in 
danger of freezing to death, he surrendered himself 
to the assailants. 

He parried their wrath for the moment by tak- 
ing from his pocket a compass, of which he ex- 
plained the properties, proceeding to expound, as 
far as his knowledge of their language would 
admit, the principles of the solar system, and the 
great features of geography, as received by civil- 
ized nations. His unreconciled captors tied him 
to a tree, and would have put him to death with 
their arrows, but their leader protected him by 
holding up the compass ; and, held by three men, 
and guarded by six archers on each side, he was 
led away to be presented to King Powhatan. 
In that monarch's presence the case was examined 
by his counsellors. The result was that Smith's 


head was laid upon a large stone, that it might be 
crushed with clubs. The fatal blows were about 
to descend, when Powhatan's daughter, twelve or 
thirteen years of age, sprang from his side, where 
she had been sitting, and clasping Smith's head in 
her arras, laid it close to her own. The angry father 
relented, and the culprit's life was spared. It was 
agreed between them, that, in consideration of a 
present of two cannon and a grindstone. Smith 
should not only be set at liberty, but should be 
adopted by Powhatan as his son, and be endowed 
with a large tiact of country. Twelve Indians 
accompanied Smith to Jamestown to receive the 
promised bounty; but finding the articles too 
heavy to carry, they returned to their homes en- 
riched only with some more manageable tokens of 
his good-will. This story is here told as, on the 
authority of one of the books that bear Smith's 
name, it has long been current. But recent criti- 
cisms indicate that it must be remitted to the 
realm of fable. 

Smith's fellow-colonists were not responsible 
persons. " A great part," he says, " were unruly 
sparks, packed off by their friends, to escape worse 
destinies at home. Many were poor gentlemen, 
broken tradesmen, rakes, and libertines, footmen, 
and such others as were much fitter to spoil and 
ruin a commonwealth than to help to raise or 
maintain one." On his return from Powhatan's 
country, he found them in extreme disorder. Two 
parties had been formed, one of which had seized 


the vessel, and was about to set sail for England. 
Smith laid hands on some of the mutineers, and 
sent them thither as prisoners. His management 
of affairs was brave and prudent ; his credit grew ; 
and he was chosen by his associates to be Presi- 
dent of the colony. Again his career had just 
been near coming to a close. From a fish called a 
stingray he received a wound which threatened to 
be fatal, and his companions dug a grave for his 
burial. But one of them produced a "precious 
oil," which effected so speedy a cure that at night 
he ate a piece of the same fish vf'iih a good ap- 

On the River Susquehanna, Smith became ac- 
quainted with a race of Indians of gigantic stature, 
who used a language that might "well beseem 
their proportions, sounding from them as a voice 
in a vault." Defeated in a stratagem for carrying 
off the great King Powhatan, he was surrounded 
in a house by a crowd of the followers of that 
chief; but, armed with sword and pistol, "he made 
such a passage among these naked devils, that, at 
his first shot, those next him tumbled one over 
another, and the rest quickly fled, some one way, 
some another." Powhatan followed him, how- 
ever, and was about to fall upon his small party, 
when " Pocahontas, his dearest jewel and daughter, 
in that dark night, came through the irksome 
woods " to bring intelligence of the danger. An- 
other chief, Opechancanough, with seven hundred 
men, encountered Smith, who had but fifteen. 


Smith caught him by his long hair and dragged 
him into the midst of the Indian warriors, who 
were so confounded at such temerity that they 
offered no resistance, but with their sovereign gave 
up their bows and arrows. After the excitement 
and fatigue of this scene, Smith fell asleep; and 
some of the Indians, watching their opportunity, 
gathered about him with murderous designs. 
But he awoke at the right moment, and, seizing 
his sword and target, speedily put them all to 
flight. Some of Powhatan's subjects tried to 
poison him ; but a seasonable nausea gave him 
relief, and he had strength enough to give a severe 
beating to the Indian who appeared to be imme- 
diately responsible. While he slept in a boat next 
to a bag of powder, it was fired by some accident, 
and he was shockingly burned. He sprang into 
the water for relief, and was scarcely saved by his 
crew from drowning. As he lay at Jamestown, 
disabled by his burns, some disalTected English 
conspired against his life. The person designated 
to slay him could not get up his courage for the 
villanous attempt. 

Smith had had enough of Virginia. He had 
there worried through two years of extreme toil 
and danger. The factions among his own people 
which had so disastrously embarrassed him were 
still as venomous and as unmanageable as ever; 
and he could hope for no support from the author- 
ities at home, whose ear the malecontents had 
poisoned against him. What decided him, how- 


ever, was the condition of his burns, which he was 
satisfied could not be cured without good surgery. 
He bade farewell to Virginia forever, leav- 


ing behind him five hundred colonists, well 
supplied with the necessaries of life. 

Seventeen years after this time a work appeared, 
of which part of the title was, " The General His- 
tory of Virginia, New England, and the Summer 
Isles," with Smith's name on the title-page as its 
author. It was followed, some years later, by 
" The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations 
of Captain John Smith, in Europe, Asia, Africa, 
and America." In these two works are recorded 
the extraordinary adventures, of some of which a 
sketch has been given above. In recent times the 
authenticity and truth of parts of these narratives 
have been more than doubted; but the reasons 
against their credit leave unimpaired the substan- 
tial facts of Smith's inestimable services to the 
infant colony of Virginia. 

The history of his less conspicuous career in 
later life is more prosaic and better established. 
Five years had passed after his return to England, 
when he engaged himself with some partners to 
make a voyage with two vessels to North Virginia, 
" to take whales, and also to make trials of a mine 
of gold and copper." He came to land jgj^ 
at Monhegan, an island near the mouth ^p"'30. 
of the River Penobscot. With eight men in a 
small boat, he ranged the neighboring coast to the 
southwest, with the object of collecting furs. In 


this expedition he drew " a map from point to 
point, isle to isle, and harbor to harbor, with the 
soundings, sands, rocks, and landmarks," and gave 
to the country the name of New England. Re- 
turning home, he was permitted to present a copy 
of his sketch, and of the journal of his voyage, to 
the King's second son, afterwards King Charles the 
First, who, at his solicitation, gave names, princi- 
pally of English towns, to certain points upon the 
coast. The map, with this addition, was engraved 
and published ; and by the circulation of it, and by 
other efforts, but with little success, Smith tried to 
reawaken an interest in establishing a colony in 
that region. The Plymouth Company ostensibly 
took him into their service ; but they were embar- 
rassed and disheartened by the ill-success of their 
undertaking seven years before, and it was not 
1615. without " a labyrinth of trouble " that Smith 
Ma^ch. ^g^g enabled to set sail again with two ships, 
the larger of two hundred tons burden, the other 
of fifty. 

At sea, the vessels were separated in a storm. 
The smaller of them, commanded by Captain Der- 
raer, proceeded to America, and brought home a 
freight. Smith's own ship was dismasted, and, 
returning into port, was pronounced unseaworthy. 
Putting to sea again with thirty men in a bark of 
sixty tons, he fell in with a French squadron, and 
was taken prisoner. He served a while with his 
captors in a cruise against the Spaniards, and was 
then set free, with empty pockets, at Rochelle. 


After a series of minor adventures and exploits, 
he made his way back to Plymouth, obtained three 
vessels, and prepared to set sail once more for New 
England. But at first contrary winds kept 
him in port ; then other obstacles occurred, 
which proved to be insuperable. Smith travelled 
about the south and west of England, distributing 
books and maps, but winning no effectual favor to 
his project. He might as well have tried, he said, 
" to hew rocks with oyster-shells." At last, " see- 
ing nothing would be effected, he was contented as 
well with this loss of time and charge as all the 
rest." He lived several years longer, but never saw 
America again. He heard that " some hundreds 
of Brownists had gone to New Plymouth, whose 
humorous ignorances caused them for more than a 
year to endure a wonderful deal of misery with an 
infinite patience." But he valued himself on being 
" not so simple to think that any other motive than 
wealth would ever erect there a commonwealth, or 
draw company from their ease and humors at 
home, to stay in New England." 

Soon after Smith's failure in the expedition in 
which he had been associated with Dermer, a trad- 
ing party was sent out by Gorges to New Eng- 
land, under the conduct of Richard Vines. 

mi 1 • 1616-1617. 

They passed a winter at a camp on the 
River Saco. There they learned that an extensive 
tract of the country had been recently almost de- 
populated by wars and pestilence, a fact which 
was afterwards abundantly confirmed. 


Derraer came to New England again. He sailed 
along the coast from the Kennebec to Virginia, 
jg2o. and, returning thence, traversed part of the 
"'""*• country on which, six months later, was 
begun the second permanent American colony of 
Englishmen. At the spot where presently that 
colony was in fact to be established, Dermer 
wished "that the first plantation might be seated, 
if there came to the number of fifty persons, or 
upwards." He was severely wounded at Martha's 
Vineyard, in a fight with some Indians, and soon 
afterwards died in Virginia. 



As yet Europeans had not seen much more of 
New England than some parts of the sea-coast. 
Its interior topography, its vegetation, and its in- 
habitants, brute and human, were still unknown to 
them. That the reader may understand the con- 
dition of things into which colonists were to come, 
it is necessary here to anticipate some observations 
of a later time. 

The great feature in the configuration of the 
inland country is presented by two nearly parallel 
ranges of mountains, or rather elevated plateaus, 
which traverse New England from the southwest- 
ern corner to the northeastern. The chain nearest 
to the western border bears the general name of 
the Green Mountains. The other chain, present- 
ing greater elevations, rises to its principal height 
in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. 
Mount Washington, one of the latter group, is 
sixty-three hundred feet high. Mansfield Moun- 
tain, the loftiest of the Green Mountains, measures 
forty-four hundred feet. The easterly edge of the 
eastern range of highlands approaches the Atlantic 
Ocean to within about fifty miles, and in this sea- 


coast line there is no elevation of more than six 
hundred feet. 

The most considerable of the rivers which de- 
scend from these heights take a southerly course 
to the ocean. Such are the Penobscot, the Kenne- 
bec, the Androscoggin, the Connecticut, and the 
Housatonic. By spurs of highland the Merrimac 
and the Charles are turned off to the east. The 
hill-country is so near to the ocean as not to admit 
of a long navigation of the rivers. At the mouths 
of several of them are deep and capacious harbors. 
The interior masses of water find almost every- 
where a sufficient vent, and there are few lakes of 
considerable size. The largest. Lake Winnipiseo- 
gee, is thirty-five miles long, and about ten miles 
across in its greatest breadth. The continuity of 
the coast line is broken by several great inlets from 
the sea, of which Penobscot Bay, Buzzard's Bay, 
and Narragansett Bay are the most considerable. 

The atmospheric temperature in New England 
is variable, and heat and cold are both in extreme. 
The range of the mercury in Fahrenheit's ther- 
mometer is from more than a hundred degrees in 
summer to the freezing point of mercury (thirty- 
three degrees below zero) in winter. In Massa- 
chusetts, the central State, the mean temperature 
of the year varies from forty-four to fifty-one de- 
grees. Great changes of temperature often occur 
suddenly. At Boston, the mercury has been 
known to traverse forty-five degrees in twenty- 
four hours; and on one day it rose twenty-seven 


degrees between seven o'clock in the morning and 
two in the afternoon, and fell thirty-three iggj. 
degrees in the next seven hours. *^*'^" ^^' 

Droughts, though not unusual, are not often 
severe. The average annual fall of rain is from 
forty to forty-five inches. In twenty years, the 
extreme range of the barometer at Cambridge, in 
Massachusetts, was two inches and sixty-four hun- 
dredths. Tornadoes are infrequent. There is no 
appearance of volcanic action. There have been 
earthquakes which have created alarm,, but none 
which have done much damage. One of them, 
in the middle of the eighteenth century, j-^g 
in the month of the great earthquake at ^°^-^^- 
Lisbon, shook down a hundred chimneys in Bos- 
ton. It was the last that occasioned much obser- 

The great and sudden variations of temperature 
may be supposed to affect the salubrity of the 
climate. But New England is not an unhealthy 
country. The conformation of the surface forbids 
the stagnation of masses of water ; and the tides 
of the neighboring ocean, the snow on the hills, 
and the winds which the rapid changes of temper- 
ature keep in motion, are perpetual restorers of a 
wholesome atmosphere. In the absence of marshes 
diffusing noxious miasmata, intermittent fevers 
rarely occur. Among the fatal maladies, pulmo- 
nary consumption numbers most victims. Diseases 
of the nervous system are next in frequency. 
Malignant fevers, especially of the typhoid type, 


are sometimes epidemic. If the official returns of 
deaths in Massachusetts for four consecutive 

1852-1856. , ,., , 

years may be credited, one person in every 
eighteen then living was more than eighty years old. 

The agricultural season is short. Though of 
different length in different parts of a region ex- 
tending through six degrees of latitude and di- 
versified by alternations of hill and valley, the 
statement may be made, in a general way, that 
winter lasts through nearly half the year. In 
Massachusetts, the mean temperature of the eight 
cold months is less than forty degrees. That of 
the four warm months is nearly seventy. In years 
of average vernal temperature in Massachusetts, 
the ground is ready for the plough by the first of 
April. By the first week of November, the last 
fruits of the year are gathered in. 

Generally, the soil is not fertile. The wide 
beach along the coast is sandy; in the interior, 
rocks and gravel, with occasional veins of clay, 
cover a large part of the surface. In the neigh- 
borhood of towns the quality of the land has been 
greatly improved by the careful cultivation of more 
than two centuries. But most of the natural fruit- 
fulness of the region was found in the valleys of 
the great rivers. The borders of the Penobscot, 
the Kennebec, the Connecticut, and other streams, 
enriched in past ages and still reinvigorated by the 
deposits of the annual overflow, exhibit a fecun- 
dity in strong contrast with the stony hill-sides. 
The territory of Massachusetts is, on the whole, 


the least fruitful in New England. Maine, skirted 
by a barren shore, contains inland the largest pro- 
portion of good arable soil. New Hampshire and 
Vermont abound in lands suitable for the pasture 
of herds and flocks. 

In mineral wealth New England is not affluent. 
A little copper has been found, some lead, some 
graphite, and considerable quantities of iron and 
manganese. There are beds of anthracite coal, 
of an inferior quality. Maine, New Hampshire, 
and Massachusetts contain ample quarries of 
slate; and limestone abounds in Rhode Island and 
Maine. The granite and sienite of Eastern Mas- 
sachusetts, the white marble of the western moun- 
tain range, and the sandstone of the valley of the 
Connecticut, are valuable materials for building. 
The serpentine of Vermont, and the variegated 
marbles of Connecticut, are prized for architectural 
embellishment. Here and there are medicinal 
springs, generally of a chalybeate quality. Salt is 
only to be had from sea-water. 

The natural forests of New England were so vast 
that the early explorers described them as covering 
the country. In fact, it was all forest-clad, except 
the bogs and salt-marshes, and the mountain tracts 
above the limit of trees. An abundance of the 
oak, hickory, walnut, ash, elm, maple, pine, spruce, 
chestnut, cedar, and other forest- trees offered sup- 
plies for fuel, tools, weapons, utensils, and build- 
ing. The chestnut, hazlenut, beechnut, butternut, 
and shagbark yielded contributions to the stores 


of food laid up for winter. Wild cherries, mul- 
berries, and plunis enlarged the variety of the sum- 
mer's diet. Wild berries, as the strawberry, the 
gooseberry, the raspberry, the blackberry, the whor- 
tleberry, the cranberry, grew in plenty in the meadow 
and champaign lands. Vines bearing grapes of 
tolerable flavor flourished along the streams. A 
profusion of flowering shrubs, and of aquatic, forest, 
and field flowers, brought their tribute to the pomp 
of the year. The lobelia, the sarsaparilla, the gin- 
seng, and the sassafras were prized for their me- 
dicinal properties. The tough, fibrous bark of an 
indigenous plant, a species of dogbane, afforded a 
good substitute for hemp. The native grasses of 
the upland were rank but innutritious, so that the 
European planters soon found it better to fodder 
their cattle on the salt herbage of the sea-marshes. 
Neither in the vegetable nor in the animal world 
was in any instance the same species found in 
America as existed on the other continent. The 
fishes of the interior waters of New England, like 
the trees, the bushes, the birds, and the quadru- 
peds of that region, received from the settlers 
such names as were suggested by superficial 
resemblances to objects which had been known 
abroad. The rivers of New England, as well as 
the belt of sea which embraced its long coast, were 
found to swarm with fishes of kinds the most use- 
ful to man. The cod, the mackerel, and the herring 
have from the first arrival of Europeans to the pres- 
ent time been important articles of trade. 

BIRDS. 25 

Of the native birds of New England, the most 
abundant is the wood-pigeon. Different wild species 
of the goose and duck resort to the sea-shore, in 
the colder months, in search of fish and of aquatic 
plants and insects. Various species of the plover 
and of other birds of passage haunt the meadows 
and Ihe marshes. The wild turkey, now rarely 
seen, throve on berries in the woods. The quail 
and the red-breasted thrush (commonly known as 
the robin) make their nests in the uplands. The 
woodcock and the ruffed grouse, or partridge, hide 
in the copses. Among birds remarkable for beauty 
of plumage are the gorgeous oriole, or golden robin, 
which makes its annual summer visit from the 
Chesapeake ; the bluebird, the golden-winged wood- 
pecker, the rose-breasted grossbeak, and above all, 
the tiny humming-bird. Hawks and horned owls 
are the terror of poultry-yards. Blue-jays, crows, 
and blackbirds annoy the husbandman by their 
inroads upon the just planted and just ripening 
grain, which, however, they save from more de- 
structive enemies than themselves. The music of 
the dwellers in the air is various. The song-spar- 
row pours out its joyous melody all day long. 
The hermit-thrush, or mavis, charms the w^oods 
at nightfall. From its solitude the whippoorwill 
sends to a long distance its wild and plaintive song. 
" In sweetness of voice, as far as his few notes ex- 
tend," the American starling, or meadow-lark, is 
pronounced by Wilson to be eminently superior 
to the skylark of Europe. 


Of the larger kinds of reptiles there were not 
many found native to the soil. The bite of the 
rattlesnake is dangerous, though by no means cer- 
tainly fatal, as is commonly supposed. The black 
snake, sometimes seen six or seven feet long, is 
shy and harmless. Troublesome insects abound. 
The short and happily not constant summer cam- 
paign of the canker-worm leaves desolation behind 
in the orchards, and on the most prized of the orna- 
mental trees, within the narrow limits which it in- 
fests. Cut-worms and other caterpillars ravage the 
grain-fields. Borers and other beetles deform the 
gardens. During the heats of the summer, espe- 
cially in the evening and night and in moist places, 
the presence of the mosquito, with its threatening 
music and its irritating sting, materially detracts 
from the comfort of man. 

The native quadrupeds of New England, as gen- 
erally of all America, were found to be of types 
inferior to those of the other hemisphere. The 
bear, the wolf, the catamount, and the lynx, or 
wild-cat, were the most formidable. The moose, 
which has disappeared, except from secluded por- 
tions of New Hampshire and Maine, was the larg- 
est, measuring five feet and a third in height, and 
nearly seven feet in the length of the body. The 
fallow - deer, not quite exterminated at this day, 
abounded in the forests. Of fur-bearing animals 
there were the beaver, the otter, the ermine, the 
raccoon, the musquash, the mink, the sable, and 
the marten, besides the fox and the squirrel, and 
others less prized. 



The indigenous population of New England was 
probably never numerous. Considering the scanty 
means of living there afforded to men destitute of 
the resources of art, the fact could scarcely have 
been otherwise. At the time of the first European 
settlement in New England, a terrible pestilence 
had recently ravaged the country, and, according 
to the best reckoning which can now be made, the 
reduced population, whatever it may previously 
have been, did not then amount to more than 
about fifty thousand souls. It was spread thinly 
along the eastern coast, and more compactly along 
the southern. The wide tracts now known as 
Vermont, Northern New Hampshire, and Western 
Massachusetts, were then almost, if not absolutely, 
without inhabitants. 

Of the five families into which the most current 
classification distributes the human inhabitants of 
this planet, that known as the American Indian, 
spreading from Hudson's Bay, at the north, to the 
southern extremity of the continent, constitutes 
one. The symmetrical frame of this race, the 
cinnamon color of the skin, the long, black, coarse 


hair, the scant beard, the high cheek-bones, the flat 
and square forehead set upon a triangular confor- 
mation of the lower features, the small, deep-set, 
shining, snaky eyes, the protuberant lips, the broad 
nose, the small skull with its feeble frontal develop- 
ment, make a combination which the scientific ob- 
server of some of these marks in the skeleton, and 
the unlearned eye turned upon the living subject, 
equally perceive to be unlike what is seen in other 
regions of the globe. 

The portion of North America enclosed by the 
Atlantic Ocean, the River St. Lawrence, the great 
lakes, the Mississippi, and the Gulf of Mexico, was 
found by European explorers to be inhabited by 
natives distinguishable into four groups. Of these 
the most numerous, or, at all events, the most 
widely spread, was the family to which the French 
gave the name of Algonquin. Their country ex- 
tended along the Atlantic Ocean from Pamlico 
Sound in North Carolina to the Gulf of St. Law- 

On the basis of a difference in dialect, that por- 
tion of the Algonquin Indians which dwelt in New 
England has been classed in two divisions, one 
consisting of those who inhabited what is now the 
State of Maine, nearly up to its western border, 
the other consisting of the rest of the native popu- 
lation. The Maine Indians may have been some 
fifteen thousand in number, or somewhat less 
than a third of the native population of New 
England. That portion of them who dwelt fur- 


thest towards the east were known by the name of 
Etetchemins. The Abenaquis, including the Tarra- 
tines, hunted on both sides of the Penobscot, and 
westward as far as the Saco, if not quite to the 
Piscataqua. The tribes found in the rest of New 
England were designated by a greater variety of 
names. The home of the Penacook or Pawtucket 
Indians was in the southeast corner of what is 
now New Hampshire and the contiguous region 
of Massachusetts. Next dwelt the Massachusetts 
tribe, along the bay of that name. Then were 
found successively the Pokanokets, or Wampa- 
noags, in the southeasterly region of Massachu- 
setts and by Buzzard's and Narragansett Bays ; the 
Narragansetts, with a tributary race called Nyan- 
tics, in what is now the western part of the State 
of Rhode Island ; the Pequots, between the Narra- 
gansetts and the river formerly called the Pequot 
River, now the Thames; and the Mohegans, spread- 
ing themselves beyond the River Connecticut. In 
the central region of Massachusetts were the Nip- 
mucks, or Nipnets ; and along Cape Cod were the 
Nausets, who appear to have owed some fealty to 
the Pokanokets. 

The New-England Indians exhibited an inferior 
type of humanity. Their physical conformation, 
in some respects, was not mean. They were 
of tall or medium stature, and their limbs were 
shapely ; but though fleet and agile when excited 
to some occasional effort, they were found to be 
incapable of continuous labor. Heavy and phleg* 


matic, they scarcely wept or smiled. Their slen- 
der appetites demanded little indulgence. They 
could support life on the scantiest amount of food. 
If they were continent, it can only be to coldness 
of constitution that this was due ; but no instance 
is recorded of their offering insult to a female cap- 
tive, or soliciting her familiarity; and the coyness 
of their women repelled approach on the part of 
European visitors. 

Their supplies for the essential wants of physical 
life — their food, shelter, and clothing — were of 
the rudest kind. Undressed skins of seals, of deer, 
or of other wild animals, furnished the winter's 
attire. In summer, the men went naked, except 
that they wore about the middle a piece of deer- 
skin, from which the fur had been removed by fric- 
tion. Moccasins reaching above the ankle, of thin 
deer-skin, made supple by dressing with the brains, 
or~ of the moose's hide, according to the season, 
afforded some protection and support to the foot. 
Snow-shoes, presenting a wide surface by project- 
ing to a distance from the foot, assisted journey- 
ing in winter. Personal adornments consisted of 
greasy paint, red, blue, and black, laid in streaks 
upon the skin ; of mantles and head-gear, made 
of feathers ; of ear-rings, nose-rings, bracelets, and 
necklaces of bone, shells, or shining stones ; and of 
pieces of native copper, sometimes in plates, some- 
times strung together so as to make a sort of fringe. 
Their persons were uncleanly in the extreme. 

Their houses, called wigwams^ were made of 


bark or mats laid over a framework of branches 
of trees stuck in the ground in such a manner as 
to converge at the top, where there was a central 
aperture for the escape of smoke from the fire be- 
neath. Sometimes they were also lined with mats. 
For entrance and egress two low openings were left 
on opposite sides, so that one or the other could be 
closed with bark or mats, according to the direc- 
tion of the wind. 

For animal food the natives, in winter, shot or 
snared, or caught in pitfalls, the moose, the bear, 
and the deer ; in the summer, still less trouble pro- 
vided them with a variety of birds ; in winter, too, 
at favorable times, as well as throughout the warm 
season, the sea and the rivers afforded supplies. 
For want of salt, meat could only be preserved by 
smoking, or, for a short time, by burying in the 
snow. Vegetable food consisted of various nuts, 
roots, and berries, which grew wild; of acorns, in 
the last resort; and of a few cultivated edibl^-s. 
The potato was not known, but in the ground-nut, 
which was dug in the woods, nature had, to a lim- 
ited extent, provided a sort of substitute. The 
natives raised maize or Indian corn, the squash, 
the pumpkin, the bean now called the saba-beaUy 
and a species of sunflower, whose succulent tuber- 
ous root resembled the artichoke in taste. To- 
bacco they cultivated for luxury, using it only in 
the way of smoking. The one tool which sufficed 
for their wretched husbandry, was a hoe made of 
clam-shells, or of a moose's shoulder-blade, fastened 


into a wooden handle. They manured the land 
with fish, covered over in the hill along with the 
seed. When the growth of corn was sufficiently 
advanced, earth was heaped about it to the height 
of some inches, for support as well as to extirpate 
weeds. Beans were planted amidst the corn, so 
that the vines might be upheld by the corn-stalks. 
Corn was laid up for winter supply in holes dug in 
the earth and lined with bark. 

Flesh and fish were cooked by roasting before a 
fire on the point of a stake, broiling on hot coals 
or stones, or boiling in vessels of stone, earth, or 
wood ; water being made to boil, not by hanging 
the vessel over a fire, but by the immersion in it 
of heated stones. The Indians had not the art of 
making bread. They boiled their corn either alone 
into hominy, or else mixed with beans, in which 
case the compound was called succotash; or they 
ate the parched kernels whole ; or with a stone 
pestle and a stone or wooden mortar they broke 
them up into meal, which, moistened with water 
into a paste, they called nookhik. They did not 
feed at regular intervals, but whenever hunger 
prompted, or means allowed. Water was their 
only drink, except when they could flavor it with 
the sweet juice for which in spring they tapped 
the rock- maple tree. 

Their lines and nets for fishing were made of 
twisted fibres of the dogbane, or of sinews of the 
deer. The scoop-net, the cylindrical basket, and 
the waving of torches over the water to attract to 


the surface the larger fish, there to be struck by 
a spear, were devices used in fishing. Hooks were 
fashioned of sharpened bones of fishes and birds. 
Arrows and spears were also tipped with bone, 
or with claws of birds of the larger species, or 
with those artificially shaped triangular pieces of 
flint which are now sonoetimes found in the fields. 
Bows were strung with the sinews and twisted en- 
trails of the moose and the deer. Axes, hatchets, 
chisels, and gouges were made of hard stone, 
brought to a sort of edge by friction upon an- 
other stone. The helve of the axe or hatchet was 
attached either by a cord drawn tight around a 
groove in the stone, or by being cleft while still 
unsevered from the tree, and left to grow while it 
closed round the inserted tool. The tomahawk 
was merely a wooden club, two feet or more in 
length, terminating in a heavy knob. The pipe, 
w^ith its bowl of soft stone, set upon a stem of 
hard wood two feet long, and often carved and 
ornamented with grotesque elaboration, was a 
personal object of special regard. The precious 
metals were unknown, as well as the preparation 
of the ores of those employed by civilized men in 
the useful arts. 

Baskets, mats, and boats were on the whole the 
chief glory of Indian skill in manufacture. Ves- 
sels of basket-work constituted the principal article 
of household furniture. Mats served as hanging 
for houses, and, with or without skins, according to 
the season, as couches for repose, for which latter 

VOL. I. 3 


use they were spread on wooden supports a foot or 
two above the ground. Boats were of two de- 
scriptions. One kind, made of birch-bark fastened 
over a light wooden frame, with seams skilfully and 
not untastefuUy secured, was not only convenient 
for its lightness when taken out of the water to be 
launched in another stream, but could be impelled 
with equal ease and safety, as long as it was kept 
clear of the collisions for which its frail structure 
was unfit. The other sort was a log, shaped and 
hollowed by the application first of fire, and then 
of rude stone tools to the charred surface. 

The Indian had trained no animal to assist him 
in cultivation, or hunting, or war. He had no flock, 
nor herd, nor poultry. He had a stupid native ani- 
mal of the dog species for his companion, but it 
was of no use as a sentinel or in the chase. 

Though no rule or fixed custom forbade polyg- 
amy, the New-England Indian had generally only 
one wife. She was his drudge and slave. She 
covered and lined the wigwam, and carried away 
its materials when it was to be set up in another 
spot. She bore home the game he had taken, 
plaited the mats and baskets, planted, tended, and 
harvested the corn and vegetables, and cooked 
the food. Till her infant was able to go alone, 
she carried it about on her back. Her toils were 
relieved by no participation, and requited with no 
tenderness ; the leavings of the feast were her share 
of it, and the spot most exposed to the weather 
was her place in the wigwam. Her remedy, such 


as it was, consisted in the right, admitted to reside 
in either party, to rescind the marriage covenant at 

No condition of human society can be imagined 
so simple as to afford absolutely no occasion 
for an exchange of commodities. Before the ar- 
rival of European planters in New England, some 
of the natives had advanced so far as to use a cir- 
culating medium for trade. This currency, called 
wampum, or wampumpeag", consisted of cylindrical 
pieces of the shells of testaceous fishes, a quarter 
of an inch long, and in diameter less than a pipe- 
stem, drilled lengthwise, so as to be strung upon a 
thread. White-colored beads of this kind, rated 
at half the value of the black or violet, passed as 
the equivalent of farthings in transactions between 
the natives and the settlers. They were used for 
ornament as well as for money, and ten thousand 
of them have been known to be wrought into a 
single war-belt four inches wide. They are said 
to have been invented and manufactured by the 
Narragansetts, and from them to have come into 
circulation among the other tribes. 

But notwithstanding this symptom of the ex- 
istence of the idea of property, the New-England 
savage possessed little that can be called by that 
name, and entertained little desire for it. Insen- 
sible to that impulse which enforces industry and 
creates civilization, he lived the laziest of lives. 
When not engaged in war or hunting, he would 
pass weeks in sleep, or in sitting silent, with his 


elbows on his knees. He had not energy to cleanse 
his wigwam from its natural conglomeration of 
odious filth. A game of foot-ball or of quoits, or 
a wrestling bout, afforded some occasional variety. 
But his eminent resource was that of all other 
people, civilized or savage, who seek escape from 
intolerable sloth. He was a desperate gambler. 
He would stake his arms, his covering of furs, 
his stock of winter provisions, his cabin, his wife, 
his personal liberty, on the chances of play. Des- 
titute of the means of drunkenness till he was 
tempted by the stranger, he used his earliest op- 
portunities to plunge into desperate excess in 

As a hunter and a warrior he had occasion for 
the use and culture of those faculties which the 
phrenologists call perceptive. He readily detected 
changes in the appearance of surrounding objects, 
and discerned their bearing on the business of the 
hour. He tracked his game or his enemy by in- 
dications on the surface of the ground, in the 
motions of trees, in faint sounds interpreted by his 
vigilant experience. No wonders of nature or of 
art stimulated his dull curiosity, or lighted up his 
vacant eye. But while his own countenance rarely 
expressed emotion, he was skilled to read the pas- 
sions of others in their aspect. 

Beyond this little range, it is surprising to ob- 
serve how destitute he was of mental cultivation 
and capacity. The proceedings of the second gen- 
eration before his own were unknown to him. He 


had no ballads, no songs, no poetry of any kind ; 
what was called his war-son^ was a series of howls 
and yells, with no distinguishable rhythm. He 
had no instrument of music. K he drew lines and 
figures on trees and rocks, they might be for use in 
tracking the labyrinth of the forest, and possibly, 
in rare instances, for chronicles and memorials, 
but never were essays in a fine art. The nearest 
thing to a work of imagination of which he was 
observed to be capable was the war-dance, which 
was not so much an amusement as a solemnity, 
consisting of a grotesque dramatic representation 
of the proceedings of a campaign : the muster, the 
march, the ambush, the slaughter, the retreat, the 
reception at home, the torture and massacre of 
prisoners. The aboriginal of New England was 
no orator. Occasions enough occurred for him to 
make creditable exhibitions in this field. But the 
gift of impressive speech was not his. 

With a mental constitution such as has been 
described, it is not easy to imagine that he had 
accomplished anything in the way of scientific ob- 
servation or discovery. He had learned the medic- 
inal virtue of a few simples ; he bound up w^ounds 
in bark, with mollifying preparations of leaves, and 
treated fevers by opening the pores of the skin with 
a vapor bath ; but the main reliance of his thera- 
peutics was the action on the nervous system pro- 
duced by the mummery of the medicine-man or 
powwow. His arithmetical scale scarcely extended 
beyond as many numbers as he could tell off on 


his fingers. Though starlight was familiar to him, 
it was not ascertained that his observations had 
extended to any grouping of the heavenly bodies. 
He had no approximate formula for the year. He 
could not fail to observe the lunar changes, or to 
distinguish the months of vegetation by their pro- 
ductions ; but it is not known that he discrim- 
inated the colder months in any way, or that he 
recognized any division into weekly periods cor- 
responding to the quarterings of the moon. Days 
were to him so many sleepings and wakings. He 
had no further divisions of the day than those 
which are marked by sunrise, noon, and sunset. 

By reason of the conditions of his rude and un- 
settled life, he did not require much government, 
nor could be much subjected to its control. There 
is no evidence of his having possessed what, in the 
loosest construction of the phrase, might be termed 
a code of laws, or any set of customs having the 
force of legal obligation. His chief need for gov- 
ernors of any kind arose out of the foreign rela- 
tions of his tribe, if in respect to such communities 
that language may be used. For the protection of 
life and of hunting-grounds against a common 
enemy, it was necessary that there should be unity 
of counsel and of action in a tribe, and that there 
should be some central authority to exercise fore- 
sight and oversight for the common weal. 

The New- England Indians had functionaries 
for such purposes. They were called sachems and 
sagamores; the latter name being probably the 


designation of subordinate chiefs, or of such as 
were of inferior note or narrower jurisdiction. 
How the rank was obtained, it would be bootless 
to inquire, with any expectation of finding a uni- 
form rule or principle of advancement. Hereditary 
claims were recognized, but not apparently as of 
such decisive weight that a defect in personal ca- 
pacity would not cause them to be easily set aside. 
The sachem was not necessarily the captain of his 
tribe in war; but to him it would naturally belong 
to receive and send envoys, to collect intelligence, 
to convoke assemblies for consultation, to circulate 
information and directions. The exertion of his 
authority would practically be so dependent on the 
cheerful consent of his people, that he would be 
careful to be mainly influenced by their wishes, 
and thus a democratic spirit would pervade the 
public counsels. As the honored depositary of a 
degree of power, it would be natural that private 
controversies should occasionally find their way to 
bira. He expected his maintenance from the free 
contributions of his subjects ; and when these did 
not come, he was considered to have a right to 
provide for himself by what we call distraint. 
Sometimes bachems were of the female sex. 

The language of the aborigines of New England 
belonged to that class which philologists denominate 
agglutinating, or poly synthetic. Instead of the ver- 
bal inflections used by the civilized nations of the 
Caucasian stock to indicate the modifications and 
relations of ideas, these languages employ the 


method of stringing words together in one com- 
pound vocable. In Eliot's " Indian Primer " there 
are words consisting of no less than fifteen sylla- 
bles. The language of the New-England tribes, 
like those of the rest of the Algonquins, was full 
of consonants, and harsh. The vocabulary, corre- 
sponding to the range and the style of thought 
existing among those who used it, was at once re- 
dundant and defective ; characteristics which were 
necessitated by the incapacity for abstraction and 
analysis. There was no substantive verb to con- 
vey the idea of existence independent of some 
accompanying condition or circumstance. The 
apparatus of words for expressing abstractly even 
common and obvious relations was extremely scan- 
ty. The Indian could speak of a hatchet^ as was 
necessary, because its owner might be unknown, 
but not of a father, son, head, or hand, except as 
my, your, or his father, and so on. There was an 
affluence of words indicative of distinctions be- 
tween persons in the same relations of consan- 
guinity; as between older and younger brother, 
paternal and maternal uncle ; and what was more 
singular, each sex had a separate vocabulary for its 
own use in speaking of such relatives. The names 
of species were multiplied without regard to resem- 
blances which to us seem essential and obvious, 
and which with us are the basis of a distribution 
into g-enera; different kinds of oak were called by 
names as different as the names which were given 
to oaks and to willows. The exigencies of discourse 


may lead to the attempt to supply by metaphors a 
want of abstract terms, but metaphorical language 
can never be that of discussion and study. The 
Indian had not so much as named time, space, or 
substance. He bad no use for abstract terras, 
when he had not conceived the ideas which they 
are needed to express. 

The subject of the language of the New-Eng- 
land Indians is not without a bearing upon the 
credit of the transmitted accounts of what has 
been favorably styled their religion. The consid- 
erate inquirer will remark by what means the 
information was obtained which has been so con- 
fidently bequeathed to us by contemporary writers. 
All representations of the systems of opinion of 
barbarous nations ought to be received with ex- 
treme caution, and, in the compass of human 
thought, there are no ideas or conceptions more 
abstract and subtle than those of religion. What- 
ever information the European settlers professed 
to have collected concerning the theories of the 
natives on this subject, reached them through the 
treacherous instrumentality of a language, not 
only at best imperfectly understood by the hearer, 
but essentially unsuitable for explanations on such 
a subject, and, what was worse yet, unsuitable for 
conducting the speculations from which theories 
are framed. By-and-by, settler and native came 
to understand better each other's speech. But, 
step by step, meanwhile, the original ideas of the 
natives had been modified by this intercourse ; 


and, in proportion as they were more capable of 
explaining their meaning, their meaning itself, the 
subject of their explanation, had been adulterated 
and confused ; while, from first to last, the observ- 
ers and writers, themselves men of religious theo- 
ries, whether Romanist or Puritan, would insensibly 
be guided by their respective predilections in inter- 
preting what the Indians told, and would compose 
a sense of their own out of the unmeaning or 
enigmatical communications which they received. 
The civilized man, having constructed or re- 
ceived some scheme of physics, metaphysics, or 
theology, imagines that every human mind must 
have some conceptions corresponding with it; and, 
when encountered by strange forms of thought, 
he proceeds to dispose of them by explanations 
founded on that unsafe hypothesis. But the very 
first step in such an interpretation is illusory ; and 
it is on altogether too slender a basis of ascertained 
facts that our literature has built up a theology 


" the poor Indian, whose untutored mind 
Sees God in clouds, and hears liim in the wind." 

Such an Indian is mainly an imagination of Euro- 
pean sentimentalists. 

Many of the early French explorers of North 
America were men capable of judicious observa- 
tion, and several of them declared that tribes which 
they visited were absolutely without a notion of 
religion. There is not wanting testimony of the 
same kind in relation to the natives of New 


England. " They are a people," wrote Edward 
Winslow, after a short acquaintance with them, 
" without any religion, or knowledge of any God." 
In preaching to them in their own language. Cotton 
of Plymouth was obliged to use the English word 
denoting the Supreme Being, for want of any equiv- 
alent sign known to his hearers ; and Eliot, in his 
translation of the Bible, was driven to a similar 
expedient. The correct perception of some facts 
was, at all events, not endangered by that inade- 
quacy of oral communication which renders sus- 
picious so much of the testimony on this subject ; 
and it is quite certain that the savages of New 
England had no temples, no public ritual, nothing 
in the nature of social worship, no order of priests. 
In short, of the machinery of religion they were 
destitute. And this fact is a decisive one. For 
if, where there has been preparation of the under- 
standing and affections, the religious sentiment 
may, unaided by forms and sympathy, sustain its 
life in the solitary breast, it is inconceivable that, 
among a people in a low state of culture, anything 
entitled to the name of religious sentiment should 
exist without some provision for its public incul- 
cation and expression. 

Some early observers fell into the error of regard- 
ing the sorceries used among the natives as relig- 
ious practices. But in this there was a mere con- 
fusion of ideas. The medicine-man, or powwow, was 
not a priest, but a reputed conjurer, a healer of 
disease and controller of the elements by virtue cf 


mysterious arts. The murdering by the Indians 
of their captives has been interpreted as a relig- 
ious sacrifice. But it is as impossible to show 
that they ever gave authority for that interpreta- 
tion, as to pretend that the slaying of enemies and 
the offering of worship are intrinsically equivalent 
acts. The occasional discovery of arms, apparel, 
ornaments, and provisions in Indian graves has 
been thought to indicate the prevalence of a belief 
in a future life. But the careful inquirer is not 
satisfied that the interment of such articles was 
anything like a prevailing practice, and he hesi- 
tates to regard it as anything more than a natural 
expression of the thought that the course of the 
dead man was finished, that the separation from 
him and from what belonged to him was complete. 
" The fanciful historians," says a modern writer on 
the history of Maine, long personally conversant 
with the remains of the native tribes in that re- 
gion, " have said much respecting the savage's 
hope of felicity in fine fields beyond the gates of 
death, where he should meet his ancestors and be 
happy in a state of immortality. But from any 
conversation had with the Indians here, or from 
anything which can be gathered from those who 
have been most with them, there is no reason to 
believe that the northern savages ever had ideas 
of that nature." 

With the Indian the social attraction was feeble. 
At the fishing-season he would meet his fellows 
of the same tribe by the shores of ponds and at 


the falls of rivers, and enjoy the most that he knew 
of companionship and festivity. But much of his 
life was passed in the retirement of his wigwam 
and the solitude of the chase. The habit of lone- 
liness and of self-protection made him independent 
and proud. His pride created an aptitude for the 
virtue which constituted his point of honor, and 
which he cultivated with assiduous care. This 
was, fortitude in suffering. In war, craft rather 
than valor stood high in his esteem. Stealth and 
speed composed his strategy. He showed no dar- 
ing and no constancy in the field ; but it was great 
glory to him to bear the most horrible tortures 
without complaint or a sign of anguish. 

His brave endurance, however studied and 
scenic, or in whatever degree the symptom of a 
coarse nervous organization, presented the bright 
side of his character. He was without tenderness, 
and very few instances are recorded of his appear- 
ing capable of gratitude. Cunning and falsehood, 
the vices of the undisciplined, the weapons of the 
imbecile, were eminently his. His word afforded 
no security. He could play the spy with a perfect 
self-possession ; and a treaty could not bind him 
any longer than he supposed the violation of it to 
be dangerous. Exceptions are to be allowed for in 
every portraiture of a class of men. Everywhere 
and always there are happy natures that rise above 
the moral standard of their place. But a just 
description of this peculiar race cannot omit the 
statement that their temper was sullen, jealous, 


passionate, intensely vindictive, and ferociously 
cruel. Among the early colonists they had no bet- 
ter friend than Roger Williams. But after long 
years of intercourse with them, and toleration of 
them, and services to them, he was fain to charac- 
terize them as "dregs of mankind." " There is no 
fear of God," he said, " before their eyes ; and all 
the cords that ever bound the barbarous to foreign- 
ers were made of self and covetousness." 



At length the time came for a European colo- 
nization of New England. A religious impulse 
accomplished what commercial enterprise, sus- 
tained by money and court favor, had attempted 
without success. Civilized New England is the 
child of English Puritanism. 

By many enlightened Englishmen, both of the 
clergy and in other walks of life, the Reformation 
which took place in England in the time of King 
Henry the Eighth was thought to be incomplete. 
As early as the next following reign, those who 
aimed at further reforms came to be known as a 
party under the name of Puritans. When 1558. 
Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne, the ^07. 
clergy of this party vainly flattered themselves that 
they would be indulged in the omission of some 
observances of the prescribed ritual which occa- 
sioned them offence. An act of Parliament, J559 
passed in the first year of her reign, forbade ^lay 
all ministers to conduct public worship otherwise 
than according to the rubric. A number of Puritan 
clergymen, some of whom were persons of 
distinction, refused to comply with this act, 
and they and their followers received the name of 


Non-conformists. A portion of them went further 
yet. " Seeing they could not have the word freely 
preached, and the sacraments administered 
without idolatrous gear, they concluded to 
break off from public churches, and separate in 
private houses." These were called Separatists. 
They were also known by the name of Brownists, 
derived from one Robert Brown, an active preacher 
among them. 

To the surprise and dismay of those who had 
hoped that the accession of James the First to the 
throne of England would bring relief from ecclesi- 
astical oppression, he began his reign with 
severe measures against dissentients from 
the Church. At the village of Scrooby, near the 
northeastern corner of Nottinghamshire, a congre- 
gation of Separatists had existed for several years. 
They were in the habit of assembling for worship 
at the house of William Brewster, a person of some 
property, who had formerly been employed by Davi- 
son, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth. They 
had two ministers, Richard Clifton and John Rob- 
inson. A young man, named William Bradford, 
was in the habit of coming to their meetings from 
the neighboring hamlet of Austerfield. 

Bancroft, made Archbishop of Canterbury within 
a few weeks after King James's accession, was a 
prelate of the most arbitrary disposition. The an- 
noyances which, under his vigilant administration, 
distressed the Puritans in every part of England, 
became so intolerable to this company of simple 


farmers, of whom few can be supposed to have 
ever seen the sea or till lately learned anything of 
foreign countries, that at length they resolved on 
the sad expedient of expatriation. They deter- 
mined to seek a home in the Low Countries, where 
they heard that religious freedom was enjoyed, and 
that some of their persecuted countrymen had 
already found a refuge. 

The scheme had to be prosecuted by stealth. 
Bancroft had obtained from the king a proclama- 
tion forbidding his subjects to transport themselves 
to Virginia without his special license ; and, under 
color of this, or under some other pretence, the 
departure of the Scrooby congregation was ob- 
structed. A portion of them chartered a 
vessel to receive them and their effects near 
Boston in Lincolnshire, to which place they accord- 
ingly made a journey of fifty miles. The master 
betrayed them after they had got on board. The 
coast officers, after robbing them of books, money, 
and other property, took them on shore and put 
them in gaol. 

Another attempt was made in the spring of the 
next year. A number of members of the congre- 
gation made a bargain with a Dutch shipmaster to 
take them on board at a place on the Huraber, 
thirty miles distant from their home. A part had 
embarked, when a body of armed men came in 
view. The Dutchman put to sea in a fright, with 
such of the company as had reached his vessel. 
The rest, separated from their friends, and some 


of them destitute of money and clothing, were left 
in a condition the most forlorn. 

At last the scattered flock collected at Amster- 
dam. In that city they found two congregations 
of English Separatists, which had emigrated at an 
earlier time. Between them there was some dis- 
pute, in which the new-comers feared that they 
might themselves become involved. Accordingly, 
after a few months, they resolved to remove to 
Leyden. Clifton, the elder of their ministers, was 
indisposed to another change, and remained at 
Amsterdam. At Leyden, Robinson was the min- 
ister, and Brewster " was an assistant unto him in 
the oflfice of an elder, unto which he was now 
called and chosen by the church." 

Leyden, " wanting that traffic by sea which 
Amsterdam enjoyed, was not so beneficial for their 
outward means of living and estates." They " fell 
to such trades and employments as they best could, 
and at length they came to raise a competent and 
comfortable living, but with hard and continual 
labor ; and many came unto them from divers parts 
of England, so as they grew a great congregation." 
At Leyden, Robert Cushman, William White, and 
Richard Masterson found employment as wool- 
carders; William Bradford was a fustian-worker, 
and then a printer ; John Jenney served a brewer ; 
Samuel Fuller was a silk-weaver ; George Morton, 
a trader ; Diggory Priest, a hatter ; Isaac Allerton, 
a tailor ; and Moses Fletcher, a smith. 

An experience of less than ten years in Holland 


satisfied them of the expediency of making an- 
other removal. They hoped that somewhere else 
their children and their old people might be ex- 
posed to less hardship than they now endured for 
the earning of a scanty maintenance. They were 
anxious for the morals of the rising generation, 
endangered by the example of the youth of the 
country, and by the license of the war with Spain, 
which, after a twelve years' truce, was about to be 
renewed. They were born Englishmen, and they 
could not be content that their posterity should 
speak any other than the language of England, or 
own any other sovereign than hers. " If God 
would discover some place unto them, though in 
America, they desired not only to be a means to 
enlarge the dominions of the English state, but the 
Church of Christ also, if the Lord had a people 
among the natives whither he would bring them." 
There can be no more generous ambition than 
that which inspired these men. Unenterprising vil- 
lagers at first, habituated at length to a new home, 
and able to earn a decent living by humble drudg- 
ery, some of them now sinking into age, they turn 
their thoughts to their posterity. With a patriotic 
yearning, they desire to extend the dominion of 
the native country which refuses to grant them a 
peaceable home on its broad lands. And, through 
the hardships of a long voyage and an unknown 
continent, they propose to be missionaries to the 

The project occasioned much discussion. It 


offered no certainties on the bright side. The dan- 
gers to be met on sea and land were formidable. 
The cost of the voyage would exceed any means 
in their possession. Its length might be beyond 
the endurance of the aged and feeble of their com- 
pany. Arrived at its end, they would " be liable to 
famine and nakedness, and the want, in a manner, 
of all things, with sore sicknesses." Appalling re- 
ports had reached them of the ferocity and treach- 
ery of the savage races ; their hard experience in 
the removal from England was not forgotten ; and 
the ill success of the earlier attempts at settlement 
in Virginia and in Maine was a heavy discourage- 

On the other hand, they considered " that all 
great and honorable actions were accompanied 
with great difficulties, and must be both enter- 
prised and overcome with answerable courage. 
The dangers were great, but not desperate, and 
the difficulties were many, but not invincible. It 
might be, sundry of the things feared might never 
befall; others, by provident care and the use of 
good means, might, in a great measure, be pre- 
vented ; and all of them, through the help of God, 
by fortitude and patience, might either be borne or 
overcome. True it was that great attempts were 
not to be made and undertaken but upon good 
ground and reason, not rashly or lightly, as many 
had done, for curiosity or hope of gain. But their 
condition was not ordinary. Their ends were good 
and honorable, their calling lawful and urgent ; 


and therefore they might expect the blessing of 
God on their proceedings. Yea, though they 
should lose their lives in this action, yet they might 
have comfort in the same, and their endeavors 
would be honorable." It is a genuine heroism 
which can reason thus. 

They pondered, debated, fasted and prayed, and 
came to the conclusion to remove. The prepara- 
tions going on around them for a renewal of the war 
made them impatient to proceed to execute 
their plan. As to the choice of a place of 
settlement, opinions were divided. The Dutch 
made them liberal offers ; but to found a colony for 
Holland would have been a deviation from one of 
the objects they had in view. Some would have 
gone to Guiana, of which the salubrity and fruit- 
fulness had been extolled by Sir Walter Raleigh, 
who had sailed up the Orinoco twenty years before, 
and was now there on a second visit ; but it was 
feared that the tropical climate would ill agree with 
the English constitution, and the proximity of 
Spanish plantations was regarded as undesirable. 
Others desired to follow their countrymen to Vir- 
ginia ; but it was considered, that, if they attached 
themselves to the colony existing there, "they 
would be in as great danger to be persecuted for 
their cause of religion as if they lived in England, 
and it might be worse. And at length the conclu- 
sion was to live in a distinct body by themselves, 
under the general government of Virginia," that 
■»8, of the Virginia Company in England. 


Religious freedom, which they had exiled them- 
selves to enjoy, was the one thing indispensable 
for the future. But as yet there was no security 
for it in any region claimed by the British crown. 
Two of their company, Robert Cushraan and John 
Carver, were despatched to solicit it from the king, 
to be enjoyed at such place of settlement as in the 
progress of a proposed negotiation they should 
obtain from the Virginia Company. 

The messengers found the Virginia Company 
favorably disposed to their enterprise, and desirous 
of affording it sufficient facilities. The king was 
less tractable. Through the influence of Sir Ed- 
win Sandys, a person of great authority, son of 
that Archbishop of York whose tenant Brewstei 
had formerly been at Scrooby, and soon afterwards 
Governor of the Company, their case was pre- 
sented by Sir Robert Naunton, then principal Sec- 
retary of State. But the king would give no pledge. 
The most that could be obtained from him was an 
encouragement, in general terms, that their Separa- 
tism would be connived at, as long as they should 
give no public offence. An express engagement, 
even of that unsatisfactory tenor, was denied. 

Thus the question was opened again. " Many 
were afraid, that, if they should unsettle themselves, 
put off their estates, and go upon these hopes, it 
might prove dangerous, and but a sandy founda- 
tion." On a reconsideration, however, the coun- 
sels of the more sanguine prevailed. It was de- 
termined to take the risk, and " to rest herein 


on God's providence, as they had done in other 
things;" and Cashman and Brewster were ^g^g 
sent to England to arrange terms with the ^^^' 
Virginia Company, and also "to treat and conclude 
with such merchants and other friends as had man- 
ifested their forwardness to provoke to, and ad- 
venture in, this voyage," so as to procure pecuniary 
means for the outfit. In short, money for the cost 
of the emigration was to be raised on a mortgage 
of the future labor of the emigrants. 

After a vexatious negotiation, both objects were 
accomplished. A patent was obtained under the 
seal of the Virginia Company, not, however, 
" taken in the name of any of their own company, 
but in the name of Mr. John Wincob, a religious 
gentleman then belonging to the Countess of Lin- 
coln, who intended to go with them." Neither the 
patent, nor any copy, nor even its date, nor any 
description of its grants, has been preserved. It is 
known, however, from a memorandum of the time, 
that the land conveyed was " about the Hudson's 

The conditions insisted on by the Merchant Ad- 
venturers — that is, the merchants who were to fur- 
nish money — were oppressive to the borrowers. 
The two parties were to be united in a joint-stock 
company. Colonists sixteen years old and upwards, 
and persons contributing ten pounds in money, 
were to be owners of one share. Colonists who 
contributed ten pounds were to have two shares ; 
and they were to be allowed a share for every 


domestic dependant more than sixteen years old, 
two shares for every such dependant if fitted out 
at their expense, and half a share for every depend- 
ant between ten years of age and sixteen. Arrived 
at their destination, the planters were to employ 
themselves in boat-building, fishing, carpentry, cul- 
tivation, and manufactures, for the common emolu- 
ment. They were to be provided with food, cloth- 
ing, and other necessaries, from the common stock. 
At the end of seven years the capital and profits 
were to be divided among the stockholders in pro- 
portion to their shares in the investment, and each 
child that had gone out when under ten years of 
age was to have fifty acres of unmanured land. 
Stockholders investing at a later period were to 
have shares in the division proportioned to the 
duration of their interest ; and to the estates of 
stockholders who might die before the expiration 
of the seven years, allowances were at that time to 
be made proportioned to the length of their lives 
in the colony. To the great disappointment and 
displeasure of the colonists, two articles, supposed 
by them to have been agreed upon, to the effect 
that they should have two days in each week for 
their private use, and that, at the division, they 
should be owners of their houses and of the culti- 
vated land appertaining thereto, were, at the last 
moment, disallowed by the Merchant Adventurers. 
The supplies which had as yet been obtained 
were sufficient for the conveyance of only a por- 
tion of the Leyden congregation, and of some as- 


sociates who, agreeably to arrangements of theirs 
or of the Merchant Adventurers, were to join them 
in England. As it turned out that only a minor- 
ity of the congregation could embark in the first 
vessels, it was determined that Robinson, the pas- 
tor, should remain for the present at Leyden, while 
Brewster should accompany the pioneers, who were 
without delay to sell their little property, and con- 
tribute the proceeds to the common stock on the 
terms defined in the articles. As to the more dis- 
tant future, there was a mutual understanding, that, 
"if the Lord should frown upon their proceedings, 
then those that went to return, and the brethren 
that remained still there to assist and be helpful 
to them ; but, if God should be pleased to favor 
them that went, then they also should endeavor to 
help over such as were poor and ancient, and will- 
ing to come." Thomas Weston, one of the Lon- 
don partners, came to Leyden, for a consultation 
respecting the details of the outfit ; and Cushman 
was sent over to London, and Carver to South- 
ampton, " to receive the money and provide for 
the voyage." 

A little vessel, which had been purchased, called 
the Speedwell, awaited the departing Pilgrims — ■ 
it was then that the now familiar application of 
the word was first made — at Delft-Haven, on the 
River Meuse, fourteen miles from Leyden. With 
all the enthusiasm that possessed alike the emi- 
grants and the friends whom they left, the parting 
was anxious and sorrowful. They held a last 


religious service together at Leyden, " pouring out 
prayers to the Lord with great fervency, mixed 
with abundance of tears." Then a party of those 
who were to remain accompanied the voyagers to 
the ship, and the sad farewell was repeated. The 
Speedwell brought her passengers prosperously to 
Southampton, where they were awaited by the 
Mayflower, a larger vessel, of a hundred and eighty 
tons' burden, which had come round from London. 
After a fortnight, employed in the last prepara- 
tions, the two vessels put to sea, with about a 
hundred and twenty passengers. Before they had 
proceeded far, the Speedwell sprung a leak, and 
with her consort returned to Dartmouth for repairs. 
They sailed a second time ; and a second time, for 
the same reason, were forced to put back, and at 
Plymouth the Speedwell was pronounced to be un- 
seaworthy. It was getting late in the season ; no 
other vessel could immediately be had; and it was 
determined that a part of the company should re- 
linquish the voyage for the present. When 
^*' ^' the Mayflower set sail a third time, it was 
with a hundred and two passengers, counting men, 
women, and children. 

The connection between this ship's company 
and the Separatist congregation of Scrooby consists 
rather in an historical continuity than in an iden- 
tity of persons. In determining the question as to 
which portion of the congregation should first 
emigrate, it was arranged for *' the youngest and 
strongest part to go." The youngest and strongest 


would generally be of those who had joined the 
society most recently, while they who were ex- 
cused from the first enterprise would, on the whole, 
be the persons whose more ancient relations to 
Robinson in England would be a reason for their 
remaining with him. Concerning very few of the 
first company of planters in New England is it 
known to this day from what English homes they 
came. None but William Brewster and William 
Bradford are ascertained to have been attendants 
upon the ministry of Robinson in Nottinghamshire. 
Edward Winslow, who was superior in condition 
to all or to most of his companions, is believed 
to have become acquainted with Robinson while 
travelling in Holland ; he joined the society at 
Leyden three years before the emigration. The 
" cautionary towns " of the Netherlands had been 
garrisoned by British regiments for thirty years, 
and the soldier Miles Standish had probably been 
employed in this service. The Leyden church had 
received several members of Dutch and of French 
birth ; and Edmund Margeson, one of the Mayflow- 
er's company, was probably a Hollander. Richard 
Warren, Stephen Hopkins, John Billington, Ed- 
ward Dotey, and Edward Lister appear to have 
joined the expedition at one or another of the 
English ports. Christopher Martin came from 
Billerica, in Essex, to meet it. John Alden was 
a cooper, engaged at Southampton. Samuel Ful- 
ler, Isaac Allerton, and Diggory Priest were Lon- 
doners. Robert Coshman was from Canterbury ; 


George Morton, from York ; and Richard Master- 
son, from Sandwich. " Many of you," Robinson 
wrote in a letter which reached the emigrants at 
Southampton, " are strangers, as to the persons, so 
to the infirmities, one of another, and so stand in 
need of more watchfulness." 

Including children, there were twenty - eight 
females on board, eighteen of whom were wives 
of emigrants. The voyage was long, and the latter 
part of it was fatiguing and perilous. As the 
wanderers approached the American continent, 
they encountered weather which proved almost too 
tempestuous for their overburdened vessel to sus- 
tain. They did not reach the land where they had 
expected to disembark. It was afterwards be- 
lieved, though on unsatisfactory evidence, that the 
shipmaster had been bribed by the Dutch to take 
them out of their way, so as to prevent their inter- 
fering with the infant Dutch colony at the mouth 
^^^ g of Hudson's River. At early dawn of the 
sixty-fourth day of their voyage they came 
in sight of the white sand-banks of Cape Cod. 
Veering to the south, they found themselves, by 
the middle of the day, " among perilous shoals and 
breakers." This induced them to retrace their 
course, and at length, at noon of a Saturday near 
the close of autumn, the Mayflower dropped 
her anchor in the roadstead of what is now 
Provincetown, at the extremity of the southern 
cape of Massachusetts Bay. 



The heterogeneous composition of the company 
which came to New England in the Mayflower has 
been explained. The company did not consist en- 
tirely of persons devoted to the high objects for 
which the emigration had been planned. Some or- 
ganization for local government would have proved 
necessary at any rate ; but the necessity was the 
more manifest, because already, " before they came 
to harbor," it was observed that " some were not 
well affected to unity and concord, but gave some 
appearance of faction." Accordingly an instrument 
was drawn up and signed, by which the subscrib- 
ers, professing themselves loyal subjects of King 
James, " solemnly and mutually, in the presence 
of God and of one another, covenanted and com- 
bined themselves together into a civil body politic, 
for their better ordering and preservation, and to 
enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal 
laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, 
from time to time, as should be thought most meet 
and convenient for the general good of the colony, 
promising all due submission and obedience there- 
to." The simple government was then instituted 
by the election of John Carver to be Governor. 


In the afternoon of the day when the ship 
came to anchor, a party of armed men was sent on 
shore to reconnoitre and collect fuel. They re- 
turned at evening with the report that they had 
seen neither person nor dwelling, but that the 
country was well wooded, and that the appearance 
as to soil was promising. 

The next day was the Sabbath. Having kept it 
1520. in due retirement, the men began the labors 
Nov. 13. Q^ ^jjg week by landing a shallop from the 
ship, and hauling it up the beach for repairs, while 
the women went on shore to wash clothes. While 
the carpenter and his men were at work on the 
boat, sixteen others, armed and provisioned, 
with Standish for their leader, set off to ex- 
plore the country. They were gone three days. On 
the first day they saw four or five natives, who ran 
away so fast that they could not be overtaken. Still 
proceeding southward the next morning, 
Nov 16. .^.j^gy observed marks of cultivation, heaps 
of earth, which they supposed to denote graves, and 
the remains of a hut, with " a great kettle which 
had been some ship's kettle." They examined a 
little mound, and found beneath it two baskets 
containing four or five bushels of Indian-corn, of 
which they helped themselves to as much as they 
could carry away in their pockets and in the 
kettle. Further on they saw two canoes, and 
" an old fort or palisado, made by some Chris- 
tians, as they thought." They returned on 
Friday evening, Pamet Harbor, in Truro, 


being probably the most distant point they had 

The next week was spent in putting tools in 
order, and preparing timber for a new boat. It 
proved to be cold and stormy ; much inconven- 
ience was felt from having to wade through the 
shallow water to the shore, and many took " coughs 
and colds, which afterwards turned to the scurvy." 
On the Monday of the next following week, 
twenty-four of the colonists in the shallop, 
accompanied by the ship-master and ten of his 
people in the long-boat, set out for an exploration 
along the shore. They came to the harbor to 
which Standish's journey by land had been ex- 
tended, and, finding it to have a depth of twelve 
feet of water at high tide, they considered the 
question of fixing upon it for their settlement. 
But the idea was abandoned, in consideration of 
the insufficiency of the harbor for the accommoda- 
tion of large vessels, and the uncertainty as to a 
supply of fresh water. 

As soon as the state of the weather allowed, a 
party, ten in number, including Carver, 
Bradford, and others of the principal men, 
set off with eight seamen, in the shallop, on what 
proved to be the final expedition of discovery. 
The cold was severe. " The water froze on their 
clothes, and made them many times like coats of 
iron." They coasted along the cape, landing at 
different points, but not finding what they 
looked for. At the end of the third day 


their mast was carried away in a storm of sleet and 
snow, and they drifted in the dark towards what 
turned out to be a small island. They landed and 
lighted a fire, by which to pass the inclement night. 
The next day they required to " dry their stuff, fix 
their pieces, and rest themselves;" and the next 
day after that was the Sabbath, when no work 
might be done. 

On the following day, " Monday, they sounded 

the harbor, and found it fit for shipping, and 

marched also into the land, and found divers 

cornfields and little running brooks, — a place, as 

they supposed, fit for situation ; so they 

returned to their ship again with this news to the 
rest of their people, which did much comfort their 
hearts." Such is the record of that event which 
has made the twenty-second of December a memo- 
rable day in the now altered calendar. 

By the end of the week the Mayflower had 
brought her company to keep their Sab- 
bath by their future home. On Smith's 
map the spot bears the name of Plymouth^ chosen 
for it by Prince Charles ; and either for that reason, 
or because Plymouth was the place where the 
emigrants took their final departure from their 
native country, they gave that designation to the 
place of their settlement. 

The first needful operations on shore were con- 
ducted with the resolution which had marked the 
previous proceedings. A platform was laid for ord- 
nance, and a building was hastily erected, twenty 


feet square, for a storehouse, and for common 
occupation. The company was distributed into 
nineteen families, and as many plats for dwell- 
ings were laid out on the opposite sides of a way 
along the north side of a brook which runs into 
the harbor. " The frost and foul weather hin- 
dered them much." " Scarcely could they work 
half the week." Time was lost in going to and 
from the vessel, to which, in the severe cold, they 
were obliged often to repair for lodging. They 
were delayed in unloading by want of boats ; and 
stone, mortar, and thatch were slowly provided. 

Worse troubles followed. The labor of prepar- 
ing habitations had scarcely begun, when sickness 
set in, the consequence of exposure and bad food. 
Within four months it carried off nearly half the 
company. Of the one hundred and two who had 
arrived, six died in December, eight in January, 
seventeen in February, and thirteen in March. At 
one time there were only six or seven who had 
strength enough left to nurse the dying, and bury 
the dead. The sick lay crowded in the unwhole- 
some vessel, or in half-built cabins heaped around 
with snow-drifts. The dead were interred in a 
bluff by the water-side, the marks of burial being 
carefully effaced, lest the natives should discover 
how safe would be an attack. But through all 
this sorrow the lesson rehearsed at Leyden was 
not forgotten, that " all great and honorable actions 
are accompanied with great difficulties, and must 
be both enterprised and overcome with answerable 


courages." It was felt that the fit way for surviv- 
ors to honor and lament the departed was to be 
true to one another, and to work together bravely 
for the cause to which dead and living had alike 
consecrated themselves. The devastation increased 
the necessity of preparations for defence ; and at 
1621. ^^^ time when the company was dimin- 
Feb. 17. ishing at a greater rate than that of one 
on every second day, a military organization was 
formed, with Standish for the captain, and the 
humble fortification on a hill overlooking 

Feb. 21. ° 

the dwellings was mounted with five pieces 
of cannon. 

" Warm, and fair weather " came at last, and 
"the birds sang in the woods most pleas- 
antly." Never was spring more welcome 
than when it opened on this afflicted company. 
As yet there had been no communication with 
the natives. On " a fine, warm morning," 
an Indian came into the hamlet, and, pass- 
ing along the row of huts, was intercepted before 
the common house, which he would have entered. 
In broken English he bade the strangers " wel- 
come," and said that his name was Samoset, and 
that he came from Monhegan, a place distant to- 
wards the east by a day's sail, or five days of land 
journey, where he had learned something of the 
language from the crews of fishing-vessels. He 
told them that the place where they were was by 
the Indians called Patuxet, and that it had been 
depopulated four years before by an epidemic sick- 


ness ; that the subjects of a sachem named Mas- 
sasoit were their nearest neighbors ; and that at 
the southeast, on the cape, dwelt a tribe called the 
Nausets, who were exasperated against the Eng- 
lish on account of a kidnapping of some of their 

Samoset remained through the day and night, 
well pleased with his reception. Two days after, 
he came again, with five other savages, who 
brought back some tools which had been stolen 
two or three weeks after the landing. In a 

. - March 21. 

third visit he had four companions, one of 
whom, named Squanto, turned out to be one of 
several natives who, seven years before, had been 
kidnapped by John Smith's subordinate. Captain 
Hunt. This party brought a message from Mas- 
sasoit that he was at hand, and desired an inter- 
view with the strangers. He presently appeared 
on a hill close by, with sixty followers, and Wins- 
low went out with a present, and with a guard of 
six musketeers, to meet him. The Indian chief, 
with twenty unarmed attendants, was conducted 
with honor to an unfinished building, where a rug 
and cushions were spread for them. Then, with 
Squanto and Samoset for interpreters, he gave audi- 
ence to the Governor, who came " with drum and 
trumpet"; and, after salutations and feasting, a 
treaty was made, in which it was agreed that Mas- 
sasoit and his people should offer no injury to the 
English, and that any transgressor of this engage- 
ment should be surrendered for punishment ; that 


if tools were stolen by natives, they should be re- 
stored, and that similar redress should be afforded 
on the other part ; that aid should be rendered by 
each of the contracting parties against the enemies 
of the other ; that notice should be sent to neigh- 
boring tribes, to the end that they might enter 
into similar engagements; and that, when visits 
should in future be exchanged, the visitors should 
go unarmed. 

This business settled, and Massasoit having 
been assured that " King James would esteem 
of him as his friend and ally," he was conducted 
by the Governor across the brook, and rejoined his 
party. Presently his brother, named Quadequina, 
came over with a retinue, and was received with 
similar hospitality. The next day, on an invita- 
tion from the king, Standish and Allerton returned 
his visit, and were regaled with " three or four 
ground-nuts, and some tobacco." The Governor 
sent for the king's kettle, and returned it " full of 
pease, which pleased them well, and so they went 
their way." Squanto and Samoset remained, and 
the former gave an earnest of his subsequent useful- 
ness to the English by taking for them a quantity 
of eels. Their tables vi^ould have been better sup- 
plied, had they been able to avail themselves of 
the plenty of the fishing - grounds ; but, by some 
oversight, they had come unprovided with the 
proper tackle. 

Before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, 
the year, with Englishmen, began on the twenty- 


fifth day of March. As their New Year's day ap- 
proached, the planters " proceeded with their jj^^ch 
common business, and concluded both of ^^'^' 
military orders and of some laws and orders thought 
behooveful for their present estate and condition." 
At the same time they reelected Carver to be their 
Governor. They had now completed such prepa- 
ration as was to be made for severing the last tie 
that bound them to the scenes of their earlier life, 
and the Mayflower set sail on her return 
voyage. She carried back not one of the '' 
emigrants, dispiriting as were the hardships which 
they had endured, and which they had still in 

Scarcely had she gone, when another heavy 
calamity occurred. Carver, who at one time had 
been left with no aid but that of Brewster, Stan- 
dish, and four others, to nurse their suffering com- 
panions, " oppressed by his great care and pains 
for the common good," came out of the field 
where he was planting, took to his bed, after a 
few hours fell into a delirium, and died in a few 
days. In " great lamentation and heaviness " 
they laid him in his grave, "with as much solem- 
nity as they were in a capacity to perform, with 
a discharge of some volleys of shot of all that bare 
arms." His wife, " being overcome with excessive 
grief for the loss of so gracious a husband," fol- 
lowed him after a few weeks. Bradford was placed 
in the vacant office, and at his request, on account 
of being only partially recovered from his illness 


in the winter, Isaac Allerton was chosen to be his 
assistant. Forty-six of the passengers in the May- 
flower were now dead, twenty-eight out of the 
forty-eight adult men. Before the second party 
of emigrants arrived in the autumn, the number 
of the dead was fifty-one, and only an equal num- 
ber survived the first miseries of the enterprise. 

The settlers had no working-cattle. In early 
spring they opened the ground near their dwellings 
with the spade, and prepared their rude gardens. 
They sowed six acres with barley and pease. Their 
good fortune in the winter at the subterranean 
storehouses had given them ten bushels of Indian- 
corn for seed. This sufficed them for the cultiva- 
tion of twenty acres, Squanto instructing them 
how to plant and hill it, and to manure with fish. 
As the season advanced, they found a supply of 
wild grapes and berries ; nor did they omit to re- 
cord that wild flowers of various hue and of "very 
sweet fragrance" added a charm to the scene. 
With the variety afforded by wildfowl, fish, and 
native fruits, what remained of the stores that had 
been brought over sufficed for food, and the warm 
season brought no other want. 

Four expeditions during the summer varied the 
life of the exiles, and extended their knowledge 
of the country to a few miles' distance on the 
west, east, and north. Winslow and Hopkins, ac- 
companied by Squanto as interpreter, were sent 
to Massasoit's home on Narragansett Bay, to 
confirm the relations which had been entered into 


with that prince. After an absence of five days, 
they returned to the settlement with accounts of 
his friendly dispositions, and of the wretched squal- 
idness of Indian life. A boy of the company hav- 
ing gone astray in the woods, a party of ten men 
went for him in a boat to the southern coast of the 
bay, whither they heard that he had wandered. 
They went to Cummaquid, now Barnstable, and 
to Nauset, now Eastham; and again making them- 
selves understood with Squanto's help, they accom- 
plished their object, and made arrangements to pay 
at Plymouth for the corn to which they had helped 
themselves on their first arrival. Returning, they 
found the settlement disturbed by information which 
had been received of a conspiracy formed against 
Massasoit by subjects of his who were dissatisfied 
with his friendship for the foreigners. Standish, 
with some twelve men, went to the wigwam 
of the chief conspirator, and, in his absence, "^ 
disarmed his people, without killing any ; — a dem- 
onstration so serviceable, that, before long, nine 
sachems, representing jurisdictions extend- 
ing from Charles River to Buzzard's Bay, *^ " 
came into the town, and subscribed a writing by 
which they " acknowledged themselves to be loyal 
subjects of King James." Lastly, Standish and 
nine others, still attended by Squanto, made 
a visit to what was to be the harbor of 
Boston. Going on shore, and walking a few miles 
mto the country, they observed land which had 
been cultivated, two forts in decay, untenanted 


huts, and other tokens of recent depopulation. 
They noted " the fair entrance " of the River 
Charles, and came back with accounts of the 
place they had seen, such as naturally made their 
friends " wish they had been seated there." But 
it was too late to begin anew. 

The husbandry of the first summer had been 
prosperous on its small scale. The crop of pease 
failed, but the barley was " indifferent good," and 
there was " a good increase of Indian-corn." Fish 
and game were abundant. By the autumn, seven 
substantial dwellings had been built. Health was 
restored. The Governor sent out a party to hunt, 
"that so they might, after a special manner, re- 
joice together after they had gathered the fruit 
of their labors ; " — the first celebration of the 
national festival of New England, the autumnal 
Thanksgiving. On that occasion of hilarity they 
" exercised their arms," and for three days " enter- 
tained and feasted " Massasoit and some ninety 
of his people, who made a contribution of five deer 
to the festivity. 

Before winter set in, tidings came from England, 
and a welcome addition was made to the sadly 
diminished number. The Fortune, a vessel of 
fifty-five tons' burden, arrived at Plymouth with 
Cushman and some thirty other emigrants. 

It must be borne in mind that the community 
planted at Plymouth was not of a strictly homoge- 
neous character. The devoted men who at Leyden 
debated the question of emigration did not com- 


pose the whole company even of the Mayflower, nor 
is it known that they had any effectual control over 
the selection of those companions whom their 
partners, the Merchant Adventurers^ sent with them 
from England, and some of whom actually turned 
out to be unworthy persons. So of the twenty- 
five men brought out by the Fortune, some were 
old friends of the congregation at Leyden, others 
were persons who added to the moral as well as to 
the numerical strength of the settlement ; but there 
were not wanting such as became subjects for 
anxiety and coercion. 

The Fortune brought over a patent from the 
recently constituted " Council established at Plym- 
outh, in the County of Devon, for the planting, 
ordering, ruling, and governing of New England 
in America." This patent was obtained by the 
friends of the colony in consequence of the intelli- 
gence carried back by the Mayflower, in the spring, 
respecting the place where the emigrants had estab- 
lished themselves, which was not within the terri- 
tory disposable by the Virginia Company. The 
new patent was taken out in the name of John 
Pierce, citizen and cloth-worker of London, and his 
associates, with the understanding that it should 
be held in trust for the Adventurers, of whom 
Pierce was one. 

At the end of five weeks after her arrival, the 
Fortune sailed again for England. Cush- 
man returned in her, to make a personal 
report to the Adventurers. She carried homeward 


" two hogsheads of beaver-skins, and good clap- 
boards as full as she could hold ; the freight esti- 
mated at five hundred pounds." But near the 
coast of England she was captured and pillaged 
by a French privateer. 



is seven years more the colony of Plymouth 
worked its way to a secure and comfortable estab- 
lishment; but its progress was made through not 
a few dangers and troubles. 

It was but a transient gleam of prosperity that 
had cheered the exiles at the close of their first sum- 
mer in America. Through nearly the whole of the 
next two years they suffered grievously from hunger. 
In the second summer after the landing, " the crop 
proved scanty, partly through weakness, for want of 
food, to tend it, partly through other business, and 
partly by much being stolen," while still unripe, by 
some disorderly persons who had been sent out to 
make a plantation by the " Adventurer " Thomas 
Weston. The main reliance of the colonists was 
upon shell-fish ; they obtained some corn and beans 
from the Indians, and some bread from fishing- 
vessels ; and with these supplies, eked out with game 
and ground-nuts, they managed to sustain life. 

Weston's company did worse by the colony than 
stealing its corn. They involved it in its first quar- 
rel with the natives. Having established 
themselves at Wessagussett, (now Way- 


mouth,) Weston's men wasted their provisions, and 
to supply themselves made depredations on the 
Indians in their neighborhood. From various 
quarters intelligence came to Plymouth that the 
Indians along the coast had conspired to avenge 
this wrong, and that their undiscriminating resent- 
ment would include the friendly settlers at Plym- 
outh, who had interposed with the new-comers in 
their behalf, and had even straitened themselves to 
relieve that want which was the excuse for en- 
croaching upon them. Massasoit, the Pokanoket 
chief, taken ill at this time, was visited by Wins- 
low, who nursed and cured him ; and the savage, 
in the overflow of his gratitude, informed his guest 
that mischief was brewing. The General Court 
jg23 of Plymouth, having become satisfied of the 
*^*^'^^- necessity for rough action, sent Standish, 
with eight men, to Wessagussett, where the ring- 
leaders were met. The English party had a fight 
with them, killing six and dispersing the rest. Wes- 
ton's settlement was abandoned, and the natives 
occasioned no further alarm. 

Weston's enterprise, embarked in with far bet- 
ter apparent prospects than those of the poor col- 
ony at Plymouth, was now at an end. Coming 
over soon afterwards to look after his affairs, he 
was shipwrecked between the Piscataqua and the 
Merrimack, and robbed by the Indians, even to the 
clothes he wore. In this plight he found his way 
to Plymouth, where the settlers treated him kindly, 
notwithstanding his misconduct to them, and sup- 


plied him with furs to trade with. But he never 
prospered afterwards. He went to Virginia, and 
thence back to England. From a thriving London 
merchant he was now a ruined man. 

Nor was his scheme of a colony in New England 
the only one that came to nothing or languished, 
while the starving plantation at Plymouth strug- 
gled vigorously on. In England, the Virginia 
Company and the Council for New England were 
at feud, the latter being in favor with the King, the 
former with the patriotic party in the House of 
Commons. The Commons passed a bill designed 
to arrest the arbitrary proceedings of the Council 
towards fishermen in the New-England seas, but 
it had not become a law when Parliament was 
prorogued. Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who was the 
soul of the Council for New England, had a fi"iend, 
named John Mason, who had formerly spent some 
little time in Newfoundland, and was now Treas- 
urer of the Royal Navy and Governor of Ports- 
mouth in Hampshire. Mason obtained from the 
Council of New England a grant of the territory 
lying between the little river which discharges its 
waters at Naumkeag, now Salem, and the 1622. 
River Merrimack ; and to this tract, extend- " 
ing inland to the sources of those streams, he gave 
the name of Mariana. In the same year the 
Council granted to Gorges and Mason the '^' 
country bounded by the Merrimack, the Kennebec, 
the ocean, and the " river of Canada," and this 
territory they called Laconia. By Mason's inter- 


est with Gorges, Sir William Alexander obtained 
from the Council a patent for Nova Scotia, or New 
1621. Scotland, which was afterwards confirmed 
s«pt- 10. ^y ^jjg king, under the seal of his northern 
kingdom. Perhaps Saco, on the river of that name, 
and Agamenticus, afterwards York, may have re- 
ceived some English inhabitants, under the patron- 
age of Gorges, within three or four years after the 
occupancy of Plymouth. In the service of Gorges, 
Mason, and others, settlements were at 
tempted at the mouth of the Piscataqua, 
where is now Portsmouth, and higher up that 
stream, at Cochecho, now Dover. Fishermen and 
traders began to resort to Pemaquid, and to the 
neighboring island of Monhegan. Captain Robert 
Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando, having been ap- 
pointed by the Council for New England to be 
" General Governor of the country," revived the 
attempt to plant a colony at Wessagussett. His 
personal observations did not encourage the scheme, 
and he returned to England with some of his com- 
panions. A portion of them, left behind, among 
whom was Morrell, an Episcopal clergyman, who 
wrote a Latin poem descriptive of the country, were 
assisted for a while with supplies from Plymouth. 
But their patience, too, wore out ; and a second time 
the scheme of a considerable settlement at Wessa- 
gussett was abandoned, and only a few persevering 
or lazy persons still remained there. Captain Wol- 
laston, with some thirty or forty companions, 
attempted a settlement on a bluff which 


still bears his name, on the sea-shore, in what is 
now the town of Quincy; but he soon withdrew 
with part of his company to Virginia, and presently 
sent for a portion of the rest. A small party from 
the west of England sat down at Cape Ann for 
purposes of planting and fishing. But for the pres- 
ent their operations had no importance. 

From the better prospect of the plantation at 
Plymouth arose an occasion of alarm to the set- 
tlers there. John Pierce, in whose name the 
patent had been taken for the joint benefit of the 
Adventurers, conceived the scheme of securing it 
for his private advantage, and contrived to super- 
sede it by another which he obtained from 
the Council for New England, with pro- ^p"' ^o. 
visions, which, as the settlers construed them, 
would '* hold them as his tenants, and to sue to 
his courts as chief lord." Pierce sailed for Plym- 
outh to push his claim, but by tempestu- 
ous weather was twice driven back, with 
serious damage. Informed of the fraud that had 
been practised, the Adventurers made a complaint 
to the Council, which was entertained and dis- 
cussed by that board, and the issue was .^^ 
that Pierce's new patent was cancelled, and ^'^ 28. 
the Adventurers, with their partners, the colonists, 
were reinstated in their rights. 

Meanwhile, the distress from scarcity of food 
had continued at Plymouth. When the settlers 
had planted in the third spring, " all their victuals 
were spent, and they were only to rest on God's 


providence, at night many times not knowing 

where to have a bit of anything the next day 

Sometimes, two or three months together, they 

neither had bread nor any kind of corn 

They were divided into several companies, six or 
seven to a gang or company, and so went out with 
a net they had bought, to take bass and such-like 
fish, by course. Neither did they return till they 
had caught something, though it were five or six 
days before ; for they knew there was nothing at 
home, and to go home empty would be a great 
discouragement to the rest. Yea, they strove who 
should do best. If the boat stayed long, or got 
little, then all went to seeking of shell-fish, which 

at low water they digged out of the sands 

Also in the summer they got now and then a deer; 
for one or two of the fittest was appointed to range 
the woods for that end, and what was got that way 
was divided amongst them." 

A drought prevailed from planting-time till mid- 
summer, and " the most courageous were now dis- 
couraged." A day was appointed for fasting 

^^' and prayer, and the religious services lasted 
" some eight or nine hours." When they began, 
" the heavens were as clear and the drought as like 
to continue as ever." As they proceeded, the sky 
was overcast; and while the thankful worshippers 
withdrew, a rain began to fall, which continued 
for a fortnight in " such soft, sweet, and moderate 
showers as it was hard to say whether their with- 
ered corn or drooping affections were most quick- 


ened or revived." Afire was set to their storehouse, 
through carelessness or for mischief, and before 
it was srot under, five hundred pounds' 

, ? , , T . Not. 

worth oi stores was consumed. In the 
preservation of the rest, as well as in the season- 
able rain, was confidently recognized the interpo- 
sition of a special providence. 

The third year was now drawing to a close, and 
the worst hardships of the enterprise were over. 
" Now God gave them plenty, and the face of 
things was changed to the rejoicing of the hearts 

of many All had, one way and other, 

pretty well to bring the year about, and some of 
the abler sort and more industrious had to spare 
and sell to others." The seasonable rains were not 
the only thing that made the harvest plentiful. 
This year was the first in which a stimulus of in- 
dividual interest had quickened the alacrity of toil. 
To each family, in place of the partnership labor 
hitherto maintained, had been assigned in the 
spring the cultivation and usufiruct of a separate 
parcel of land, the unmarried persons being each 
attached to some family, and a provision being 
added that each cultivator should at harvest-time 
" bring in a competent portion for the maintenance 
of public officers, fishermen, &c." This method 
" made all hands very industrious, so as much more 
corn was planted than otherwise would have been ; 
and it gave far better content. The women now 
went willingly into the field, and took their little 
cues with them to set corn, whom to have com- 

VOL. I. 6 


pelled would have been thought great tyranny and 

Two vessels, the Ann and the Little James, 
had, towards the end of summer, brought a rein- 
forcement of settlers, who, with the colonists of 
the Mayflower and the Fortune, were afterwards 
distinguished from later emigrants by the titles of 
old-comers and forefathers. Sixty persons of those 
who now arrived were " for the general," that is, 
under contract with the Adventurers ; and of these 
some were members of the families of earlier emi- 
grants, or had belonged to the congregation at Ley- 
den. A few others came in such circumstances as 
to introduce a new element into the social system 
of Plymouth. They were under an engagement 
" to be subject to the general government ; " but, 
coming at their own charge, they were free to 
choose their own employments. 

In the spring following the happy change of 
affairs, Bradford reluctantly consented to 

1624. •' 

accept the place of Governor for the fourth 
time, five Assistants being now associated with 
him in the magistracy, instead of one as hereto- 
fore. He had justly estimated the operation of the 
division of labor introduced in the preceding year, 
and the plan was now extended so as to allot to 
each householder an acre of land near the town, to 
be held in severalty till the expiration of the seven 
years' partnership with the Adventurers. The 
quantity of land thus distributed was small, to the 
end "that they might be kept close together, both 
for more safety and defence." 


Plymouth was now in a thriving condition, if 
its prosperity was on no imposing scale. Accord- 
ing to information which reached John Smith, 
in England, there were at the settlement " about 
a hundred and eighty persons ; some cattle and 
goats, but many swine and poultry ; thirty-two 

dwelling-houses ; the town impaled about 

half a mile compass ; in the town, upon a high 
mount, a fort well built with wood, loam, and 

stone ; also a fair watch-towei ; and this 

year they had freighted a ship of a hundred and 
eighty tons." Fifty English ships were on the 
coast, engaged in fishing, and every ship was an 
enlargement of their market for purchases and 
sales. " It pleased the Lord to give the plantation 
peace, and health, and contented minds, and so to 
bless their labors as they had corn sufficient, and 
some to spare to others, with other food ; neither 
ever had they any supply of food but what they 
first brought with them." 

Li the Ann, on her return voyage, Winslow had 
gone to England, to make a personal report to the 
Adventurers, and to procure supplies. He came 
back, after an absence of eight months, bringing 
" three heifers and a bull, the first beginning of any 
cattle of that kind in the land, with some clothing, 
and other necessaries." But he brought also an 
unpleasant " report of a strong faction among the 
Adventurers against the planters, and against the 
coming of the rest from Leyden." 

The London Adventurers were partners in a 


commercial speculation. Some of them had more 
or less sympathy in religious sentiment with Rob- 
inson's followers, but they were outnumbered by 
those who were either of the opposite inclining, or 
else solely intent on money-making. Their policy 
of course was to keep in favor with the Court, and 
with the Council for New England, in which Sir 
Ferdinando Gorges and other churchmen were 
leaders. Accordingly, there is no question that 
they took care to obstruct Robinson's plan of go- 
ing to America, and there collecting his scattered 
flock. Robinson was the recognized head of the 
English Independents, and no name could have 
been uttered in the courtly circles with worse omen 
than his to the views of the majority of the Ad- 
venturers in respect to their plantation in America. 
Nor was this the worst of their interference. 
The circumstances of the case, and developments 
that speedily followed, clearly enough indicated 
that some of the persons who had lately come " on 
their particular," came, in concert with the " strong 
faction among the Adventurers," on the errand of 
subverting the existing government and order at 
Plymouth. They were soon followed by a preacher 
named Lyford, whom Winslow, who had heard 
no flattering account of him, only consented to 
bring out " to give content to some in London." 
Lyford at first recommended himself by exuberant 
professions of Puritan piety, but was soon known 
to have connected himself closely with John Old- 
ham, a passenger in the Ann, " a chief stickler 


in the faction among the particulars." They wrote 
to England, calumniating the colony, and jg24 
recommending a radical change in its man- '''^^■• 
agement, and, with " some of the weaker sort of 
the company," set up a separate worship, insulted 
the Governor, and resisted military orders. Both 
were ordered to leave the colony. Oldham went 
to establish himself at Nantasket, the southern 
cape of Boston Bay, whither he was before 1625. 
long followed by his confederate, who had *^*^*'- 
obtained a respite of his sentence by promises of 
better conduct, which he failed to keep. 

In another point of view the " breach and seques- 
tration " among the Adventurers proved greatly 
beneficial to the colonists. Discouraged by the 
debt that had been incurred, two thirds of the num- 
ber of Adventurers in London withdrew from the 
partnership. Those who remained were believed, 
at Plymouth, to be willing to receive favorably pro- 
posals for a release from the engagement which 
had proved advantageous to neither party ; and 
Standish was despatched to England to learn what 
terms could be made. He returned, after 
opening the business, and Allerton was sent 
to pursue it. Standish brought to Plymouth the 
afflicting intelligence of the death of Robinson, at 
Leyden, the year before. 

Allerton's mission succeeded. He adjusted with 
the Adventurers the preliminaries of an ar- 

^ 1627. 

range ment for discharging the planters from 

their contract of service and partnership. For the 


sum of eighteen hundred pounds, payable in nine 
equal annual instalments, the Adventurers were to 
convey to the planters " every their stocks, shares, 
lands, merchandise, and chattels ; " and " seven or 
eight of the chief of the place became jointly bound 
for the payment of this eighteen hundred pounds, 
in the behalf of the rest, at the several days." A 
partnership was now formed of all the men on the 
spot, of suitable age and prudence, " particulars " 
as well as " generals," under an agreement that 
the trade should " be managed as before, to help 
pay the debts," in the way of a joint-stock com- 
pany. A division followed of the stock and land, 
hitherto the joint property of the Adventurers and 
of their associates on the soil. The houses became 
private estate by an equitable assignment. Vas- 
salage to the foreign merchants was at an end. 
Henceforward there were to be New-England free- 

Another business arrangement followed. Seven 
of the passengers in the Mayflower, with Thomas 
Prince, who came in the Fortune, entered into an 
engagement with the colony to farm its trade for 
the term of six years. In consideration of the sole 
right of trading, of an annual payment to them by 
each colonist of three bushels of corn or six pounds 
of tobacco, and of the transfer to them of the pub- 
lic stock of property for traffic, including three ves- 
sels, they agreed to make the annual payments due 
to the London partners ; to discharge the other 
debts of the plantation, amounting to about six 


hundred pounds more ; and to bring over, every 
year, filty pounds' worth of hoes and shoes, and 
sell them for corn at six shillings a bushel. Aller- 
ton was despatched again to England, where he 
paid the first instalment to the Adventurers, ob- 
tained the due conveyance and release on a deliv- 
ery of the bonds, and discharged all other debts 
except those due to four friends who agreed to 
become partners in the six years' hire of the trade. 
He also obtained from the Council for New Eng- 
land a patent for land on the River Kennebec, 
which was presently turned to account by the erec- 
tion of " a house up above on that river, in the most 
convenient place for trade." Three years before, 
Winslow had discovered the importance of this 
acquisition. From the Kennebec, whither 
he had gone with a few others in an open 
boat, he had " brought home seven hundred pounds 
of beaver, besides some other furs," paying for 
them with " corn, which themselves had raised out 
of the earth." 

Plymouth might now be considered a well organ- 
ized community, with a fair prospect of stability 
and growth. The condition of other settlements 
on and about Massachusetts Bay is illustrated by 
an occurrence which followed upon the abandon- 
ment by Captain Wollaston of his enterprise. 
Among those of his company who remained be- 
hind, when he went to Virginia, was one Thomas 
Morton, said to have " been a kind of pettifogger 
of Furnival's Inn." Morton displaced the per- 


son left by Wollaston in charge, and at Merry 
Mount, as he called his hold, kept up a course 
of license and revelry which gave sore offence to 
all his sober countrymen who were within hearing 
distance of it. By enticing away their servants, 
he increased his rabble rout. But what made him 
an intolerable nuisance was, that, to support his 
wild way of life, he sold fire-arms and ammunition 
to the natives. The Plymouth people, at 
the instance of other parties similarly inter- 
ested, sent to Morton " to admonish him to for- 
bear these courses." The bearer of the message 
was sent back with affront, as was another, who 
went on the same errand. Captain Standish, the 
third messenger, took "some other aid with him." 
Morton barricaded his house, defied the invaders, 
and excited his comrades with drink. Standish 
disarmed and dispersed them, and conducted their 
leader to Plymouth, whence he was sent to Eng- 
land, with accounts of the proceeding, addressed 
to the Council for New England, and to Sir Fer- 
dinando Gorges. 

The contributions to the expense of this expedi- 
tion, from settlements and from individuals, are on 
record. The settlements were Plymouth ; Piscat- 
aqua (Portsmouth) ; Naumkeag, presently to be 
spoken of; and Nantasket, the seat of Oldham's 
party. The individual contributors were " Mr. 
Jeffrey and Mr. Burslem," whose dwellings were 
perhaps at Winnisimmett, now Chelsea; Edward 
Hilton, seated at Cochecho, on the river Piscataqua ; 


William Blaxton, who had made a farm on the 
peninsula of Shawmut, afterwards Boston ; and 
Mrs. Thompson, widow of David Thompson, who 
had removed from Piscataqua to the island still 
called by his name in Boston harbor. 

Within the same circuit there were, perhaps, 
solitEiry planters, whose names do not appear in 
the transaction. Thomas Walford may have been 
already, where he was found presently after, on the 
peninsula of Mishawum (since Charlestown), and 
Samuel Maverick on Noddle's Island, hard by. 
Probably there were a few Englishmen at Cape 
Ann and Wessagussett. Plymouth had extended 
itself westwardly to Buzzard's Bay, by an outpost 
on Manomet River, kept by " some servants who 
planted corn, and reared some swine." 

On both sides of New England, settlements had 
now been attempted by planters not of English 
blood. The French attempts at colonization east 
and north of that territory had at no period had 
much success ; in the war which now took 
place, Quebec was captured by the English, 
and for a time New France was stricken from the 
map of America. On the western side, a few scores 
of trading Dutchmen had collected at the mouth 
of the river which Henry Hudson, whose name it 
bears, had discovered while in command of 
a vessel in the service of the Dutch East 
India Company. Their hamlet, which they called 
New Amsterdam, (now New York,) is be- 
lieved to have had at this time a population 


of two hundred and seventy persons. Manhattan 
Island, on which it stood, they had bought from 
the natives for a consideration about equivalent to 
twenty-four dollars. The settlers at New Plym- 
outh and at New Amsterdam had not only heard 
of each other, but they had become jealous of each 
other's plans for occupation of territory and for 
trade ; and an official of the latter place had 


visited New Plymouth, and composed an 
interesting description of it, which has been trans- 
mitted to our time. 



Twenty years had now passed since the Sepa- 
ratists of the Scrooby congregation fled to Holland, 
whence some of them came to found the colony at 
Plymouth. That period had witnessed a vigorous 
growth and spread, in their native country, of the 
Puritanism which was educating the English peo- 
ple for freedom. 

Seventeen years of the rule of James the First 
had intervened. The reign of that imbecile mon- 
arch marked the transition from a scarcely dis- 
turbed acquiescence in arbitrary government to the 
incipient triumph of popular principles in England. 
In his long quarrel with his Parliaments, little, it is 
true, had been effected for popular rights in the way 
of legislative action. But the spirit and courage 
of men in public and private life had been raised ; 
and the exigencies of the time had led to investi- 
gations into the principles of politics, which were 
destined to bear abundant fruit. Though, unable 
to w^ithstand the severity of the government, the 
Separatists had fled from the kingdom, or dis- 
banded their congregations, Puritan non-conform- 
ity had largely extended its numbers and power 


within the Church, and an attentive observer might 
discern a constant advance of the Non-conformist 
party towards an occupation of the Separatist 

When James died, the accession of a new sov- 
jg25 ereign invited the friends of freedom in the 
March 27. Engiisij Church and State to mark out a 
definite policy for the future. The experience of 
the late reign had alike shown the need and the 
practicability of strong proceedings, and afforded 
encouragement as to their happy effect. Whether 
the patriots had been more or less admonished by 
their observations on the character of the young 
successor to the throne, at any rate his close ties 
with the Duke of Buckingham, the corrupt courtier 
who had swayed his father's counsels, were enough 
to make him liable to their extreme distrust ; and 
they deliberately resolved to keep King Charles's 
power in check by the frugality of their grants of 
money. As yet, there vras not, properly speaking, 
an English constitution. They were resolved that 
there should be. They saw that the time had come 
for determining whether Englishmen should live 
in future under an absolute or under a limited and 
balanced monarchy ; and they launched upon the 
course of measures which was to solve that mo- 
mentous question. 

For four years the conflict went on, and at the 
end of them the victory seemed to be with the 
King. In pursuance of the patriot policy, Parlia- 
ment doled out supplies with a penurious hand, 


while it complained to him of the lenity shown to 
Papists, and prayed for more indulgence to the 
Non-conformist clergy. But, by economy on the 
one hand, and by extortion on the other, Charles 
the First learned to take care of himself. He re- 
lieved his exchequer by forced loans. He levied 
tonnage and poundage without the authority of 
an act of Parliament. He encumbered the crown 
lands. He rigorously enforced fines for religious 
delinquency. At length, in a passion, he jggg. 
dissolved his third Parliament, and from March lo. 
that day England was an absolute monarchy for 
eleven years. All hope of legislative relief was 
over for the present. " By our frequent meeting 
with our people," said the King in a proclamation, 
" we have showed our love to the use of Parlia- 
ments ; yet the late abuse having for the present 
driven us unwillingly out of that course, we shall 
account it presumption for any to prescribe any 
time unto us for Parliaments, the calling, continu- 
ing, and dissolving of which is always in our own 
power ; and we shall be more inclinable to meet in 
Parliament again, when our people shall see more 
clearly into our interests and actions." 

As this dismal state of things approached, and 
especially when it was reached, patriotic and relig- 
ious Englishmen asked themselves and one another 
what was the course of honor and of safety. While 
some among them still looked for relief to a re- 
newal and a happy issue of the struggle that had 
been going on in Parliament, and resigned them- 


selves to await, and help on, the progress of a 
political and religious reformation in the kingdom, 
others, less confident or less patient, pondered on 
exile as the best resource, and turned their view 
to a new home on the Western continent. 

Since the second year of King James the First, 
Mr. John White, " a famous Puritan divine," had 
been rector of a church in Dorchester, the shire 
town of Dorset. A scheme of colonization was 
suggested to him by circumstances of his position. 
Dorchester, near the British Channel, furnished 
numbers of those who made voyages to New Eng- 
land for fishing and trade, and who were sometimes 
together upon the coast for several months. The 
good prospect of the enterprise at Plymouth was 
now known in the Puritan circles in England. Mr. 
White conceived the plan of establishing another 
settlement on Massachusetts Bay, where the Dor- 
chester sailors might have a home and be brought 
under religious influences when not at sea, and 
where supplies might be provided for them by 
farming, hunting, and trading. To this end he in- 
terested himself with the ship-owners of his parish, 
and the result was the formation of an unincor- 
porated joint-stock association, under the name of 
the " Dorchester Adventurers," which collected a 
capital of three thousand pounds. 

The adventurers turned their attention to the 
spot, on Cape Ann, where now stands the town of 
Gloucester. It was included in a parcel of land 
then understood, though the transaction was after* 


wards regarded as invalid, to have been granted to 
Lord Sheffield by the Council for New England. 
Lord Sheffield had sold it to "Winslow for the Plym- 
outh people ; and from them White and his asso- 
ciates obtained such a site as was wanted for their 
purposes of fishing and planting. Fourteen 
persons in the service of the Adventurers 
came out to Cape Ann with a supply of live stock. 
But the undertaking did not prosper. The price of 
fish went down. The vessels of the company met 
with accidents. The colonists, " being ill chosen 
and ill commanded, fell into many disorders, and 
did little service." 

The partners tried again. They heard of " some 
religious and well-affected persons that were lately 
removed out of New Plymouth, out of dislike of 
their principles of rigid separation, of which num- 
ber Mr. Roger Conant was one, a religious, sober, 
and prudent gentleman." Conant, whose earlier 
history is not known, was then at Nantasket, with 
Lyford and Oldham. The partners engaged Co- 
nant "to be their Governor" at Cape Ann, and 
Lyford to be minister there. But matters did not 
mend, and " the Adventurers were so far discour- 
aged that they abandoned the further prosecution 
of this design, and took order for the dissolving of 
the company on land, and sold away their shipping 
and other provisions." 

Mr. White did not share in their discourage- 
ment. Probably he had all along had an object 
different from what had been disclosed. At his 


instance, " a few of the most honest and industri- 
ous resolved to stay behind, and to take charge of 
the cattle sent over the year before ; and, not liking 
their seat at Cape Ann, chosen especially 
for the supposed commodity of fishing, they 
transported themselves to Nahunkeike, about four 
or five leagues distant to the southwest." White 
wrote to Conant, exhorting him " not so to de- 
sert the business, faithfully promising that, if 
himself, with three others, whom he knew to be 
honest and prudent men, namely, John Wood- 
bury, John Balch, and Peter Palfrey, employed by 
the Adventurers, would stay at Naumkeag, and 
give timely notice thereof, he would provide a 
patent for them, and likewise send them whatever 
they should write for, either men, or provision, or 
goods wherewith to trade with the Indians." 

1627. ° 

They yielded to his urgency, and " stayed to 
the hazard of their lives." 

It is uncertain how comprehensive had been the 
plans of White down to this time ; — whether the 
scheme now developed by him and others had been 
entertained from the beginning, and the sending 
out of a few persons to till and fish had been in- 
tended to prepare the way for a large emigration ; 
or whether the more extensive project was now 
first conceived, and White's previous movement, 
originally independent of it, was seized upon for 
its promotion. At all events, in the critical in- 
terval between the second and third Parliaments ot 
Charles the First, when the arbitrary policy of that 


monarch had been plainly disclosed, "the business 
[of founding a colony in New England] came to 

asitation afresh in London ; insomuch 

that, some men showing some good affection to 
the work, and offering the help of their purses if 
fit men might be procured to go over, inquiry was 
made whether any would be willing to engage 
their persons in the voyage. By this inquiry it fell 
out, that, among others, they lighted at last on 
Master Endicott, a man well known to divers per- 
sons of good note, who manifested much willing- 
ness to accept of the offer as soon as it was teu- 
dered, which gave great encouragement to such as 
were upon the point of resolution to set on this 
work of erecting a new colony upon the old foun- 
dation." Six persons, of whom Endicott was one, 
obtained from the Council for New Eng- i628. 
land the grant of a tract of land extending ^^^''^ ^^' 
in length from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, 
and in width from a line of latitude three miles 
north of the River Merrimack to a line three miles 
south of the River Charles. The dimensions of 
the domain indicate that the projected colony was 
not intended to be an inconsiderable one. 

Within six months after this arrangement, En- 
dicott had conducted a small party to 
Naumkeag, which thenceforward took the 
name of Salem, or " peaceful." The " old plant- 
ers " and the new-comers together composed a 
company of " not much above fifty or sixty per- 
sons." Before winter an exploring party visited 


Mishawum, now Charlestown, and another party 
went to Morton's hold, at Merry Mount, or, as 
Endicott called it, Mount Dagon, where they cut 
down the May-pole, and urgently advised that 
" there should be better walking." The winter 
at Salem proved sickly ; an " infection that grew 
among the passengers at sea spread also among 
them ashore, of which many died." 

In England, meanwhile, political affairs had gone 
on from worse to worse, and whatever reasons 
existed for patriotic Englishmen to look for a ref- 
uge in a foreign land had been multiplying and 
strengthening. Six days before that dissolution 
of King Charles's third Parliament which reduced 
England to the condition of an absolute monarchy, 
the six persons who had obtained the patent for 
land in Massachusetts Bay, with twenty new as- 

jg29 sociates, found means to procure a royal 
March 4. charter, making them a corporation under 
the name of " The Governor and Company of the 
Massachusetts Bay, in New England." To them 
the charter confirmed the ownership of the land 
already possessed by the six patentees. It empow- 
ered them and their associates and successors for- 
ever to elect annually a Governor, Deputy Governor, 
and eighteen Assistants, and to make laws and 
ordinances not repugnant to the laws of England. 
It authorized the company to admit new partners ; 
to transport settlers ; to encounter and repel ene- 
mies ; and to constitute inferior officers as they 
should think proper for the ordering and managing 


of their affairs. This is the instrument under which 
the Colony of Massachusetts was administered for 
fifty-five years. 

Choosing Matthew Cradock, a London merchant, 
to be their Governor, and continuing Endicott at 
the head of affairs at Salem, the new corporation 
lost no time in despatching a reinforcement of 
colonists. Six vessels were prepared, and license 
was obtained from the Lord Treasurer for 
the embarkation of " eighteen women and ^' 
maids, twenty-six children, and three hundred men, 
with victuals, arms and tools, and necessary ap- 
parel," and with " one hundred and forty head 
of cattle, and forty goats." A committee of the 
company were careful " to make plentiful pro- 
vision of godly ministers." The first three vessels 
conveyed four ministers. One of them, Bright, 
returned to England in the following summer, 
probably from dissatisfaction with ecclesiastical 
proceedings which followed. Another, Smith, went 
for the present to the fishing-station at Nantasket. 
Skelton, from whose ministry Endicott had " for- 
merly received much good," and Higginson, " a 
reverend, grave minister," formerly rector 
of a church at Leicester, established them- 
selves at Salem. 

Higginson wrote home : — " When we came first 
to Naumkeag, we found about half a score of 
houses, and a fair house newly built for the gov- 
ernor. We found also abundance of corn planted by 
them, very good and well-liking. And we brought 


with U3 about two hundred passengers and planters 
more, which, by common consent of the old planters, 
were all combined together into one body politic, 
under the same governor. There are in all of us, 
both old and new planters, about three hundred, 
whereof two hundred of them are settled at Naum- 
keag, now called Salem, and the rest have plant- 
ed themselves at Massachusetts Bay, beginning 
to build a town there, which we do call Charton 

or Charlestown But that which is our 

greatest comfort and means of defence above ail 
other, is, that we have here the true religion and 
holy ordinances of Almighty God taught among 
us. Thanks be to God, we have here plenty of 
preaching and diligent catechising, with strict and 
careful exercise and good and commendable orders 
to bring our people into a Christian conversation 
with whom we have to do withal. And thus we 
doubt not but God will be with us ; and if God 
be with us, who can be against us ? " 

What had been the plans and expectations formed 
in England by the emigrants in respect to the re- 
ligious institutions of their future home, it is impos- 
sible to define with certainty. Probably as yet no 
definiteness nor absolute uniformity existed. Skel- 
ton, if John Cotton was well informed upon the 
fact, was a Separatist before leaving his native 
country. Higginson appears to have as yet got no 
further than Non-conformity ; and the same was 
probably the state of mind of most of his compan- 
ions when they came away. But the time tha 


had since elapsed, short though it was, had wit- 
nessed a natural progress from the half-way doc- 
trine. The same course of thought that had led 
any to take the first step of separation from the 
Church of the State could scarcely fail, when 
local obstacles were removed, to impel them to the 
second. A six weeks' voyage away from familiar 
scenes must needs have opened a long religious 
experience. In a North- American wild, the con- 
ventional associations were dissolved. It is strik- 
ing to observe to what an extent, as one party 
after another of earnest men came to confer to- 
gether on New-England soil, they had grown to 
be of one mind in rejecting the whole constitution 
of the English Establishment. Not a fragment of 
the hierarchical order found a place in the eccle- 
siastical organization of New England. 

Skelton and Higginson found Endicott in full 
sympathy with their own advanced views. During 
the sickness that prevailed in the preceding winter, 
Fuller, the physician of Plymouth, had come to 
Salem to render his professional assistance. With 
him Endicott had edifying conferences ; and the 
result was to confirm him in the opinion that the 
Separatist theory and practice of the Leyden and 
the Plymouth church were in conformity with the 
pattern in the gospel. 

The first church in Massachusetts was consti- 
tuted accordingly. Four weeks had not 
passed after the last arrival of colonists, ^ 
when, on a day appointed for the choice of a 


pastor and teacher, after prayer, fasting, and a ser- 
mon, Mr. Skelton was chosen to the former office, 
and Mr. Higginson to the latter. Mr. Higginson 
then offered a prayer, while he and three or four of 
the gravest men laid their hands on Mr. Skelton's 
head ; and then, for the consecration of Mr. Hig- 
ginson, a like service was conducted by his col- 
league. The next step was to gather a church, 
or society of communicants. Mr. Higginson drew 
*' a confession of faith and church covenant, ac- 
cording to Scripture," and an invitation was des- 
patched to the church at Plymouth to send mes- 
sengers to witness the further proceeding. The 
day appointed for it having arrived, the two 
"^' ■ ministers prayed and preached; thirty per- 
sons assented to the covenant, and associated them- 
selves together as a church ; the ministers, whose 
dedication to the sacred office had appeared incom- 
plete till it was made by a church constituted by 
mutual covenant, were ordained to their respective 
offices by the imposition of the hands of some of 
the brethren appointed by the church ; and Gov- 
ernor Bradford, *' and some others with him, com- 
ing by sea," and being " hindered by cross-winds 
that they could not be there at the beginning of 
the day, came into the assembly afterward, and 
gave them the right hand of fellowship, wishing 
all prosperity and a blessed success unto such good 

The transaction which determined the religious 
constitution of New England gave offence to two 


brothers, named Browne, who were among the 
most considerable persons of the recent emigra- 
tion ; and they, with others of the same mind, pro- 
ceeded to set up a separate worship, conducted 
according to the Book of Common Prayer. En- 
dicott called the brothers to account for their dis- 
orderly behavior. They pleaded that the ministers 
" were Separatists, and would be Anabaptists." 
The ministers replied, " that they came away from 
the Common Prayer and ceremonies, and had suf- 
fered much for their non-conformity in their native 
land ; and therefore, being in a place where they 
might have their liberty, they neither could nor 
would use them, because they judged the impo- 
sition of those things to be sinful corruptions in 
the worship of God." There was no composing 
such a strife ; " and therefore, finding those two 
brothers to be of high spirits, and their speeches 
and practices tending to mutiny and faction, the 
governor told them that New England was no 
place for such as they, and therefore he sent them 
both back for England at the return of the ships 
the same year." 

For this he had his warrant in written instruc- 
tions of the corporation at home, directing that 
persons who might prove to be not " conformable 
to their governnient " should not be suffered " to 
remain within the limits of their grant." The 
right of the Governor and Company of Massa- 
chusetts Bay to exclude, at their pleasure, danger- 
ous or disagreeable persons from their domain, 


they never regarded as questionable, any more 
than a householder doubts his right to determine 
who shall be sheltered by his roof. No civilized 
man had a right to come, or to be, within their 
chartered limits, except themselves, and such others 
as they, in the exercise of an absolute discretion, 
saw fit to harbor. The wisdom of such a use of 
their right as was now made by their officer and 
representative would, in existing circumstances, 
appear to him equally evident. The English hie- 
rarchy was immensely powerful, both in its own 
resources and in the patronage of an absolute 
monarch. Of its vigilance and cruelty the colo- 
nists had had a wellnigh ruinous experience. If 
it could keep its arms about them, they thoroughly 
knew from the past what they had to expect from 
it in the future. They had fled from it to the wild 
solitude of a distant continent. Should they suffer 
it to follow them, if they were able to keep it oflf? 
A conventicle of a score of persons using the Lit- 
urgy might be harmless. But how long would the 
conventicle be without its surpliced priest ? and, 
when he had come, how far in the distance would 
be a bishop, armed with the powers of the High 
Commission Court ? and then, would not the emi- 
grants have done better to stay at home ? 

Meanwhile, a movement of the utmost impor- 
tance, probably meditated long before, was hastened 
by external pressure. The state of public affairs 
m England in the spring and summer of this year 
had brought numbers to the decision which had 


been heretofore approached with sorrowful reluc- 
tance ; and several persons of character and con- 
dition resolved to emigrate at once to the New 
World. It was necessary to their purpose to 
secure self-government, as far as it could be exer- 
cised by British subjects. Possibly, events might 
permit and require it to be vindicated even beyond 
that line. At any rate, to be ruled in America by 
a commercial corporation in England was a con- 
dition in no sort accordant with their aim. 

At a General Court of the Company, Cra- 1099. 
dock, the Governor, " read certain proposi- ^"'^ ' 
tions conceived by himself; namely, that for the 
advancement of the plantation, the inducing and 
encouraging persons of worth and quality to trans- 
plant themselves and families thither, and for other 
weighty reasons therein contained, [it is expedient] 
to transfer the government of the plantation to those 
that shall inhabit there, and not to continue the 
same in subordination to the company here, as now 
it is." The corporation entertained the proposal, 
and, in view of " the many great and considerable 
consequences thereupon depending," reserved it 
for deliberation. Two days before its next meet- 
ing, twelve gentlemen, assembled at Cambridge, 
pledged themselves to each other to embark for 
New England with their families for a permanent 
residence, provided an arrangement should be 
made for the charter and the administration un- 
der it to be transferred to that country. Legal 
advice was obtained* in favor of the authority to 


make the transfer ; and on full consideration it 
was determined, "by the general consent 
"^ " of the company, that the government and 
patent should be settled in New England." The 
old officers resigned, and their places were filled 
with persons of whom most or all were expecting 
to emigrate. John Winthrop was chosen Gov- 
ernor, with John Humphrey for Deputy Governor, 
and eighteen others for Assistants. Humphrey's 
departure was delayed, and, on the eve of embar- 
kation, his place was supplied by Thomas Dudley. 
Winthrop, then forty-two years old, was de- 
scended firom a family of good condition, long 
seated at Groton in Suffolk, where he had a prop- 
erty of six or seven hundred pounds a year, the 
equivalent of at least two thousand pounds at the 
present day. Commanding uncommon respect 
and confidence from an early age, he had moved 
in the circles where the highest matters of English 
policy were discussed by men who had been as- 
sociates of Whitgift, Bacon, Essex, and Cecil. 
Humphrey was " a gentleman of special parts, 
of learning and activity, and a godly man;" in 
the home of his father-in-law, Thomas, third Earl 
of Lincoln, the head, in that day, of the now ducal 
house of Newcastle, he had been the familiar com- 
panion of the patriotic nobles. Of the Assistants, 
Isaac Johnson, esteemed the richest of the emi- 
grants, was another son-in-law of Lord Lincoln, 
and a landholder in three counties. Sir Richard 
Saltonstall, of Halifax, in the West Riding of 


Yorkshire, was rich enough to be a bountiful con- 
tributor to the company's operations. Thomas 
Dudley, with a company of volunteers which he 
had raised, had served, thirty years before, under 
Henry the Fourth of France, since which time he 
had managed the estates of the Earl of Lincoln. 
He was old enough to have lent a shrill voice to 
the huzzas at the defeat of the Armada, and his 
military service had indoctrinated him in the lore 
of civil and religious freedom. Theophilus Eaton, 
an eminent London merchant, was used to courts, 
and had been minister of Charles the First in 
Denmark. Simon Bradstreet, the son of a Non- 
conformist minister in Lincolnshire, and grandson 
of " a Suffolk gentleman of a fine estate," had 
studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Wil- 
liam Vassall was an opulent West India proprie- 
tor. " The principal planters of Massachusetts," 
says the prejudiced Chalmers, " were English coun- 
try gentlemen of no inconsiderable fortunes ; of 
enlarged understandings, improved by liberal edu- 
cation ; of extensive ambition, concealed under 
the appearance of religious humility." 

But it is not alone from what we know of the 
position, character, and objects of those few mem- 
bers of the Massachusetts Company who were 
proposing to emigrate at this early period, that 
we are to estimate the power and purposes of 
that important corporation. It had been rapidly 
brought into the form which it now bore, by the 
political exigencies of the age. Its members had 


no less in hand than a wide religious and political 
reform, — whether to be carried out in New Eng- 
land, or in Old England, or in both, it was for 
circumstances, as they should unfold themselves, 
to determine. The leading emigrants to Massa- 
chusetts were of that brotherhood of men who, by- 
force of social consideration as well as of intelli- 
gence and resolute patriotism, moulded the public 
opinion and action of England in the first half of 
the seventeenth century. While the larger part 
stayed at home to found, as it proved, the short- 
lived English republic, and to introduce elements 
into the English constitution which had to wait 
another half- century for their secure reception, 
another part devoted themselves at once to the 
erection of free institutions in this distant wil- 

In an important sense, the associates of the 
Massachusetts Company were builders of the 
British, as well as of the New-England Common- 
wealth. Some ten or twelve of them, including 
Cradock, the Governor, served in the Long Par- 
liament. Of the four commoners of that Parlia- 
ment distinguished by Lord Clarendon as first 
in influence. Vane had been Governor of the 
Company, and Hampden, Pym, and Fiennes, (all 
patentees of Connecticut,) if not members, were 
constantly consulted upon its affairs. The latter 
statement is also true of the Earl of Warwick, 
the Parliament's Admiral, and of those excellent 
persons, Lord Say and Sele, and Lord Brooke, 


both of whom at one time proposed to emigrate. 
The company's meetings brought Winthrop and 
his colleagues into relation with numerous persons 
destined to act busy parts in the stirring times that 
were approaching ; — with Moreton and Hewson, 
afterwards two of the Parliamentary Major- Gen- 
erals ; with Philip Nye, who helped Sir Henry 
Yane to " cozen " the Scottish Presbyterian Com- 
missioners in the phraseology of the Solemn 
League and Covenant ; with Samuel Vassau, 
whose name shares with those of Hampden and 
Lord Say and Sele the renown of the refusal *o 
pay ship-money, and of courting the suit which 
might ruin them or emancipate England ; with 
John Venn, who, at the head of six thousand citi- 
zens, beset the House of Lords during the trial of 
Lord Strafford, and whom, with thirty-one Lon- 
doners, King Charles, after the Battle of Edgehill, 
excluded from the offer of pardon ; with Owen 
Rowe, the "firebrand of the city" ; with Thomas 
Andrews, the Lord Mayor who proclaimed the 
abolition of royalty. Sir John Young, named 
second in the original grant from the Council for 
New England, as well as in the charter from King 
Charles, sat in Cromwell's second and third Par- 
liaments. Others of the company, as Vane and 
Adams, incurred the Protector's displeasure by too 
uncomplying principles. Six or seven were mem- 
bers of the High Court of Justice for the King's 
trial, on which occasion they gave a divided vote. 
Four were members of the Committee of Religion, 


the most important committee of Parliament, and 
one, the counsellor John White, was its Chairman. 
He who well weighs the facts which have been 
presented in connection with the principal emi- 
gration to Massachusetts, and other related facts 
which will offer themselves to notice as we pro- 
ceed, may find himself conducted to the conclu- 
sion, that, when Winthrop and his associates 
prepared to convey across the water a charter 
from the King, which, they hoped, would in their 
beginnings afford them some protection both from 
himself and, through him, from the powers of Con- 
tinental Europe, they had conceived a project no 
less important than that of laying, on this side of 
the Atlantic, the foundations of a nation of Puri- 
tan Englishmen, foundations to be built upon as 
last and as largely as circumstances should decide 
or allow. It would not perhaps be pressing the 
point too far to say, that, in view of the thick 
clouds that were gathering over their home, they 
contemplated the possibility that the time was 
near at hand when all that was best of what they 
left behind would follow them to these shores ; 
when a renovated England, secure in freedom and 
pure in religion, would rise in North America; 
when a Transatlantic English empire would fulfil, 
in its beneficent order, the dreams of English pa- 
triots and sages of earlier times. 

From the company's ship Arbella, lying in the 

1630. port of Yarmouth, the Governor and several 

AprU7. ^£ jjjg companions took leave of their native 


country by an address, which they entitled, " The 
Hunnble Request of his Majesty's Loyal Subjects, 
the Governor and the Company late gone for New 
England, to the rest of their Brethren in and of 
the Church of England." They asked a favorable 
construction of their enterprise, and good wishes 
and prayers for its success. With a tenacious 
affection, which the hour of parting made more 
tender, they said : " We esteem it an honor to call 
the Church of England, from whence we rise, our 
dear mother, and cannot part from our native coun- 
try, where she specially resideth, without muca 
sadness of heart, and many tears in our eyes. 

Wishing our heads and hearts may be 

as fountains of tears for your everlasting welfare, 
when we shall be in our poor cottages in the wil- 
derness, overshadowed with the spirit of supplica- 
tion, through the manifold necessities and tribula- 
tions which may not altogether unexpectedly, nor, 
we hope, unprofitably, befall us, and so commend- 
ing you to the grace of God in Christ, we shall 
ever rest your assured friends and brethren." The 
address is said to have been drawn up by Mr. 
White, of Dorchester. The phrase " the Church 
of England," as used in it, must not be quoted as 
having the technical sense which it now bears. 
The Church of England meant the aggregate of 
English Christians, whether, in the upshot of the 
movements which were now going on, their polity 
should turn out to be Episcopal, or Presbyterian, 
or something different from either. 


The incidents of the voyage are minutely related 

in a journal bearun by the Governor on ship- 
March 29. rr 

board, off the Isle of Wight. Preaching 

and catechising, fasting and thanksgiving, were 
duly observed. A record of the writer's medita- 
tions on the great design which occupied his mind 
while he passed into a new world and a new order 
of human affairs, would have been a document of 
the profoundest interest for posterity. But the 
diary contains nothing of that description. On the 
voyage Winthrop composed a little treatise, which 
he called, " A Model of Christian Charity." It 
breathes the noblest spirit of philanthropy. The 
reader's mind kindles as it enters into the train of 
thought in which the author referred to " the work 
we have in hand." " It is," he said, " by a mutual 
consent, through a special overruling Providence, 
and more than an ordinary approbation of the 
churches of Christ, to seek out a place of cohabita- 
tion and consortship under a due form of govern- 
ment, both civil and ecclesiastical." The forms and 
institutions under which liberty, civil and religious, 
is consolidated and assured, were floating vaguely 
in the musings of that hour. 



The Arbella had a passage of nine weeks to 
Salenj, where, in a few days, she was joined 
by three vessels which had sailed in her com- 
pany. The Assistants Ludlow and Rossiter, with 
a party from the west country of England, had 
landed at Nantasket a fortnight before. Seven 
vessels from Southampton made their voyage three 
or four weeks later. Seventeen in the whole came 
before winter, bringing about a thousand passen- 
gers. Almost all of these belonged to one or an- 
other of the following classes : 1. Such as paid 
for their passage and were accordingly entitled on 
their arrival to a specific grant of land ; 2. Such 
as paid a part of the cost of their passage, and on 
making up the deficiency by their labor, were en- 
titled to the same allowance of land ; 3. Indented 
servants, for whose conveyance their masters were 
to have a like remuneration ; 4. Such as for the 
exercise of some profession, art, or trade, were to 
receive a specified compensation from the com- 
pany. The expenditures which were soon in- 
curred show that considerable sums of money were 
brought over. 

The reception of the new-comers was discourag- 

VOL. I. 8 


ing. More than a quarter part of their predeces- 
sors at Salem had died during the previous winter, 
and many of the survivors were ill or feeble. The 
faithful Higginson was vi^asting with a hectic 
fever, which soon proved fatal. There was 
a scarcity of all sorts of provisions, and not corn 
enough for a fortnight's supply after the arrival of 
the fleet. " The remainder of a hundred and eighty 
servants," who, in the two preceding years had 
been conveyed over at a heavy cost, were discharged 
from their indentures, to escape the expense of their 
maintenance. Sickness soon began to spread, and, 
before the close of autumn, had carried off two 
hundred of that year's emigration. Death aimed 
at the " shining mark " he is said to love. Lady 
Arbella Johnson, coming " from a paradise of 
plenty and pleasure, which she enjoyed in the fam- 
ily of a noble earldom, into a wilderness of wants," 
survived her arrival only a month; and her hus- 
band, singularly esteemed and beloved by the col- 
onists, died of grief a few weeks after. " He 
was a holy man, and wise ; and died in 
sweet peace." 

Giving less than a week to repose and investi- 
gations at Salem, Winthrop proceeded with 
June 7. ^ party in quest of some more attractive 
place for settlement. He traced the River Mystic 
a few miles up from its mouth, and, after a three 
days' exploration, returned to Salem to keep the 
Sabbath. When ten or eleven vessels had 
arrived, a day of public thanksgiving was 


observed, in acknowledgment of the divine good- 
ness which had so far prospered the enterprise. 

The subject of an ecclesiastical settlement claim- 
ed to be first disposed of. One of the new-comers 
was Mr. John Wilson, son of a prebendary of 
Rochester, and grand-nephew of Archbishop Grin- 
dal. On a day solemnized with prayer and 
fasting, Mr. Wilson entered into a church 
covenant with Winthrop, Dudley, and Johnson, after 
the manner of proceeding at Salem in the year 
before. Two days after, on a Sunday, the beginners 
associated with them three of the Assistants, Mr. 
Nowell, Mr. Sharpe, and Mr. Bradstreet, and two 
other persons. Yet other additions were made to 
the church, which, so constituted, elected Mr. Wil- 
son to be its teacher, and ordained him to that 
charge at Mishawum, already called Charlestown. 
From the promptness of these measures, it is nat- 
ural to infer that they had been a subject of con- 
sideration and concert before the landing. 

Ten weeks after Winthrop's arrival, the first Cis- 
atlantic Court of Assistants was held at 

Aug. 23. 

Charlestown. The question first considered 
was that of provision for the ministers. Sir Richard 
Saltonstall undertook to have a house built " at his 
plantation [Watertown] for Mr. Phillips, and the 
Governor at the other plantation for Mr. Wilson ; " 
and a stipend of thirty pounds a year was assigned 
to each of those gentlemen. At Mattapan (Dor- 
chester) the " many godly families and people " 
who came with Rossiter and Ludlow were already 


establishing themselves under the ministry of Mr. 
Warham and Mr. Maverick. 

Courts of Assistants were held, about as often 
as once in three weeks, through the autumn. The 
business transacted at these was multifarious, and, 
as was to be expected, the proceedings were not all 
equally wise. A futile attempt, often afterwards 
repeated, was made to regulate and define by law 
the prices of materials and of labor. On the other 
hand, the early necessities of the infant colony were 
judiciously provided for, as they successively arose 
to view. A few specimens of such action will 
suffice to show its general character. Permission 
from a majority of the board of Magistrates was 
made a preliminary to the establishment of any 
plantation within the limits of the patent. Mili- 
tary instructors were employed for hire. Justices 
of the Peace and executive peace-officers were ap- 
pointed. Orders were made against allowing the 
Indians the use of fire-arms, and against parting 
with corn to them, or sending it out of the jurisdic- 
tion, without a license. Thomas Gray " for divers 
things objected against him " was ordered " to 
remove himself out of the limits of the patent," — 
a use of that right of the company, which was 
so often exercised afterwards, to possess its soil 
exclusively, and keep it clear of nuisances. Ser- 
vants, " either man or maid," were forbidden to 
"give, sell, or truck any commodity whatsoever, 
without license from their master, during the time 
of their service." A bounty was offered for the kill- 


irig of wolves, to be paid by the owners of domes- 
tic animals, in sums proportioned to the amount of 
their stock. Encouragement was given, by a legal 
rate of toll, to the setting up of a ferry between 
Charlestown and the opposite peninsula of Shaw- 
mut (Boston). These measures, in their circum- 
stantial and miscellaneous character, and in their 
mixture of legislative, judicial, and executive func- 
tions, exemplify the general course of proceedings 
of the board of Magistrates during the four years 
through which they continued to be the only gov- 
erning body. 

A severe epidemic sickness broke out at Charles- 
town. "Almost in every family, lamentation, mourn- 
ing, and woe was heard, and no fresh food to be 
had to cherish them. It would assuredly have 
moved the most locked-up affections to tears, had 
they passed from one hut to another and beheld 
the hideous case these people were in. And that 
which added to their present distress was the want 
of fresh water." Ascertaining that there was an 
ample supply of good water close by, at Shawmut, 
a portion of the people removed to that peninsula. 
It is said that they were invited by William Blax- 
ton, who had a solitary dwelling there, he having 
probably come to Boston Bay with Robert Gorges 
four years before. 

At Shawmut was now held, for the first time 
on this continent, one of those quarterly 
General Courts of the Company of Massa- 
chusetts Bay which were prescribed in the cb£urtec 


At this Court a hundred and eighteen persons, 
among whom were several of the earlier planters, 
gave notice of their desire to be admitted to the 
freedom of the Company. Perhaps it was in ap- 
prehension of the consequences of such an irrup- 
tion of strangers, that a rule was adopted, materially 
differing from that of the charter, for the choice of 
the highest magistrates, the enacting of laws, and 
the appointment of ministerial officers. By an 
arrangement which soon proved to be out of har- 
mony with the spirit of the time and the place, 
the Company delegated important attributes of 
their power to the Assistants. It ordained that 
the Governor and Deputy - Governor, instead of 
being chosen by the whole corporation, should be 
elected by the Assistants from their own num- 
ber ; and that the board of Magistrates, consisting 
of Governor, Deputy - Governor, and Assistants, 
" should have the power of making laws, and 
choosing officers to execute the same." The free- 
men were divested of all power excepting that of 
choosing Assistants from year to year. 

The plantations through which the Massachu- 
setts settlers were scattered were now eight in 
number; namely, Salem, Charlestown, Dorchester, 
Boston, Watertown, E-oxbury (where Mr. Pynchon, 
one of the Assistants, had sat down with a party), 
Mystic (assigned to Mr. Cradock, and occupied 
for him by some servants), and Saugus (Lynn), to 
which place some emigrants of the last year had 
probably strayed from Salem. Before winter, the 


Governor and several of the principal persons had 
erected and occupied some rude temporary habita- 
tions on the peninsula of Boston. A fortification 
was projected, and the narrow isthmus which con- 
nects Boston with Roxbury was fixed on 
for its site ; but before anything was done 
further than to collect some materials, the spot 
which is now Old Cambridge was pre- 
ferred, and the Governor and all but two 
of the Assistants engaged together to build houses 
there in the following year. 

With the wretched shelter which was all that 
most of the recent emigrants had been able to 
provide, the winter, from the last week in Decem- 
ber, when the cold set in, to the middle of Feb- 
ruary, proved grievously severe. Many died of 
the scurvy, which disease, Winthrop thought, espe- 
cially affected " such as fell into discontent, and 
hankered after their former conditions in England." 
Suffering from want of food was added to the 
distresses of the time. Shell-fish had to serve for 
meat, ground-nuts and acorns for bread. It was a 
welcome relief when a vessel sent to the southern 
side of Cape Cod procured a hundred bushels of 
corn. The scarcity of bread-stuffs in England was 
such, that, for every bushel of imported flour, when 
it was to be had, the colonists paid fourteen shil- 
lings sterling. A fast had been appointed jggi 
to be kept throughout the settlements, to ^*''-^- 
implore Divine succor. The day before that which 
was to be thus solemnized, a vessel arrived from 


England with supplies, and a public thanksgiving 
was substituted. 

At the opening of spring, several of the emi- 
grants went to England : some, as the minister 
Wilson and the Assistant Coddington, to bring 
their families ; others, discouraged or for other rea- 
sons, not designing to return. A number of the 
congregation assembled at the Governor's house 
to bid their Teacher farewell. There was a magis- 
tracy on the spot, and the civil order could proceed; 
but, in the Teacher's absence, some provisional ar- 
rangement was necessary for the well being of the 
church. Mr. Wilson, " praying, and exhorting the 
congregation to love," committed to Winthrop, 
Dudley, and Nowell, the ruling elder, the trust of 
conducting public worship ; and, at his request, 
the Governor commended him and his fellow-voy- 
agers to the Divine protection with prayer. 

The time prescribed in the charter of the Com- 
pany for the annual election of its high officers 
soon arrived. Winthrop was reelected Gov- 
ernor " by the general consent of the Court, 
within the meaning of the patent," Dudley being 
again associated with him in the second office, 
and those Assistants of the last year who remained 
in the colony being also continued in their place. 
A hundred and eighteen persons at the same time 
took the freeman's oath, and were admitted to the 
franchise of the Company. By this act, residents 
of the territory on Massachusetts Bay became a 
majority of the English corporation. 


This first Cisatlantic General Court for election 
witnessed a proceeding which deeply colored the 
whole subsequent character and history of the 
colony. The charter of the Company had pre- 
scribed no condition of investment with its fran- 
chise — or with what in the circumstances which 
had arisen was the same thing, the prerogatives 
of citizenship in the plantation — except the will 
and vote of those who were already freemen. 
The freemen now prescribed for themselves and 
their successors a rule to limit and control their 
choice. They determined that citizenship should 
belong only to Christian men, ascertained to be 
such by the best test which they who had the power 
of choice knew how to apply. " To the end the 
body of the commons might be preserved of honest 
and good men," they "ordered and agreed, that, for 
the time to come, no man should be admitted to 
the freedom of this body politic but such as were 
members of some of the churches within the limits 
of the same." Thus they established an aristoc- 
racy of a description heretofore unknown. Not 
birth, nor wealth, nor learning, nor martial skill 
and prowess, was to confer political power among 
this peculiar people ; but goodness, — goodness of 
the highest type, — goodness of that purity and 
force which only the spirit of the Master of Chris- 
tians can create. The conception, if a delusive 
and impracticable, was a noble one. Nothing bet- 
ter can be imagined for the administration of a 
government than that they who conduct it shall 


be Christian men, — men of disinterestedness and 
uprightness of the choicest quality, — men whose 
fear of God exalts them above every other fear, 
and whose controlling love of God and man con- 
secrates them to the most generous aims. 

Regarded in another point of view, the plan was 
at once less novel and more feasible. When the 
fathers of Massachusetts established their religious 
test of citizenship, it was matter of fearful uncer- 
tainty what the faith and ritual of the Church of 
England would turn out to be. It was too pain- 
fully certain what had been the Church's treatment 
of themselves, and how hardly, without any further 
backsliding of its own, it was prepared to treat 
them again, should it come into power on their 
own soil. They were in error in supposing, that, 
by the application of a religious test, they might 
exclude all but good men from their councils. 
They were not so far from the truth when they 
expected, by the application of such a test, to shut 
out from their counsels the emissaries of Went- 
worth and Laud ; and, in their early weakness, 
nothing was more indispensable than this for their 

The circumstances of the time at which this con- 
dition of franchise was imposed, were probably 
thought to call for a prompt decision. Till then 
there had been no freemen of the Company except 
those who had become such in England, and might 
be supposed to be solicitous for the generous objects 
of its institution. When, at the first meeting ip 


America, more than a hundred persons presented 
themselves as candidates for admission, it could 
not fail to become a subject of grave anxiety to 
those as yet in possession of the power, what would 
be the character and purposes of associates who, 
once received into the corporation, would be able 
to control its action, and to carry out or defeat the 
designs of its projectors. 

Down to this time, and a little longer, while the 
freemen may be supposed to have been without 
much acquaintance with each other, or with their 
rights and privileges under the charter, the Magis- 
trates appear to have been consolidating power in 
their own hands. As at the first General Court 
it had been determined to transfer the power of 
choosing the Governor and Deputy-Governor from 
the freemen to the Assistants, so at the second 
Court a rule was established for proceeding in the 
choice of Assistants, which, in place of the irre- 
sponsible freedom of that annual election de novo 
which was contemplated by the charter, substi- 
tuted the invidious and difficult process of a vote 
for the confirmation or removal of those Assist- 
ants who were already in office. Thus a prece- 
dent was created for a permanent tenure of the 

The plan of establishing the capital at Newtown 
(Cambridge) was relinquished. The site had been 
laid out, with lines for a fortification, and streets 
enclosing rectangular spaces ; the Deputy- Governor 
had occupied a newly buih house, and the Gov- 


ernor had set up the frame of one ; when the peace- 
able aspect of relations with the natives seemed to 
render a concentration of the colony less impor- 
tant, the superior advantages of the neighboring 
peninsula for residence and commerce had been 
perceived, and Winthrop resolved to yield to the 
importunity of his neighbors, who urged him to 
remain in Boston. At this Dudley was so strongly 
displeased, that the Governor was not immedi- 
ately able to pacify him by the most friendly over- 

1632. tures. His disgust became so serious, that, 

'^ ^ ■ as his second year of office was drawing to 
an end, he sent to the Assistants a letter of resig- 
nation. At a private meeting they refused 
to accept it; but he persisted in his purpose 
for the present. At length, by the good offices of 
Mr. Wilson and others, a reconciliation was 
effected ; and the good men " ever after kept 
peace and good correspondency together, in love 
and friendship," their alliance being subsequently 
cemented by an intermarriage of their children. 

Already an ecclesiastical question threatened 
discord, bringing into view one of the important 
relations of the lately instituted condition of the 

jggj franchise. It was reported that Phillips 
July 31. gjjj Brown, the Pastor and the elder of 
Watertown, had spoken of " the churches of 
Rome " as " true churches." Winthrop, Dudley, 
and Nowell, ruling elder of Boston, visited the 
place to make inquiry. The doctrine was debated 
before a number of members of the congregations 


of Boston and "Watertown, and, against only three 
opposing votes, was determined to be an error. 
But Brown was pertinacious in his heretical laxity, 
and the matter was only put to rest after a sec- 
ond visit of the same dignitaries. It can scarcely 
be doubted that the importance attached to this 
incident belonged to the political considerations 
which were understood to be involved. If church- 
members, rulers as they were to be in Massachu- 
setts, should esteem the Church of Rome a true 
church, where would be the safety of Massachusetts 
should England become Popish ? Thus out of 
political forecast a union of Church and State in 
Massachusetts was already dawning. 

Watertown raised another question with the 
central government. When Newtown ceased to 
be thought of as the capital town, the plan of 
fortifying it had not been abandoned ; and to de- 
fray the expense, a tax of fifty pounds was levied 
by the Magistrates on twelve plantations. On the 
reception at Watertown of the warrant for collect- 
ing the proportion of this tax due from that ^^g^. 
town, "the pastor and elder, etc., assembled ^*'*-^- 
the people, and delivered their opinion that it was 
not safe to pay moneys after that sort, for fear of 
bringing themselves and posterity into bondage." 
It was the English jealousy of illegal taxation. 
The malcontents, summoned to Boston, 
were reminded by Winthrop that " this gov- 
ernment was in the nature of a Parliament, and 
that no Assistant could be chosen but by the free- 


men, who had power likewise to remove the Assist- 
ants, and put in others;" whereupon they were 
" fully satisfied " ; and " their ofience was par- 
doned, a recantation and submission under their 
hands " having been first made, which they " were 
enjoined to read in the assembly the next Lord's 

At the next General Court, the hasty step which 

had been taken of investing the Assistants with 

the power of choosinsr the Governor and 

May 9. 

Deputy-Governor w^as retraced, and the 
freemen resumed into their own hands the election 
of those Magistrates, — a right, however, which 
they exercised by continuing Winthrop and Dudley 
in place. At the same time they took the further 
important step of ordering the choice of "two of 
every plantation to confer with the Court about 
raising a public stock," — a measure which proved 
to be the germ of a second house of legislature. 
The charter, so far from giving power to the Assist- 
ants to lay taxes on all persons living on the Com- 
pany's lands, did not even authorize them to assess 
the freemen. The recent opposition at Watertown 
to an impost had been lawful and reasonable, and, 
however apparently checked, may be presumed to 
have been neither subdued in that place, nor con- 
fined to it. The names of the sixteen deputies 
who were chosen from eight towns " to advise 
about the raising of a common stock," indicate 
the elementary existence of a party of opposition 
to the Magistrates. Watertown, for instance, waa 


represented by the factious John Oldham, and by 
Masters, who had been active in the late move- 
ment in Mr. Phillips's church ; and Conant and 
Palfrey, of the set of " old planters," over whom 
the charter officers had assumed control, appeared 
for Salem. 

A fortification was erected in Boston, men of 
the neighboring towns laboring on it in succession. 
Several vessels arrived with passengers and 
stock, the emigration, though not yet re- *^' 
newed with activity, being more considerable than 
in the year before. A day of thanksgiving was 
kept for their safe passage, and for the intel- 
ligence which they brought of the prosper- 
ity of the Protestant interest in the successes of 
Gustavus Adolphus against the Emperor. ^^^ ^ 
Wilson returned to his parochial charge in 
Boston. John Eliot, destined to win the name of 
Apostle^ had arrived there in the preceding autumn, 
since which time he had supplied Wilson's place. 
After an earnest struggle on the part of the Bos- 
ton people to retain him as Wilson's colleague, a 
church was organized in Roxbury under his min- 
istry and that of Thomas Welde, who had come 
about the same time as Wilson ; and the Deputy- 
Governor abandoned his transient home at Neu'- 
town to place himself under their spiritual charge. 
A company from Braintree in England sat down 
at Mount Wollaston, but, before long, in conform- 
ity to an order of the Magistrates, removed to 


A transaction of material interest to the colony 
took place a few months after Wilson's return. 
His church, originally formed at Charlestown, had 
soon transferred itself for worship to the opposite 
peninsula, where the greater part of its members 
gradually took up their residence. The portion 
left behind, thirty-three in number, finding the pas- 
sage of the river inconvenient in bad weather, and 
having opportunity to secure the services of a min- 
ister of their own, determined to organize a sep- 
arate congregation. Mr. James, recently arrived 
from England, was placed in charge of it ; while 
Mr. Wilson, who had hitherto been Teacher of 
the original church, was now chosen to be its Pas- 
tor, and a meeting-house was built for him at what 
was thought a liberal expense. Still following the 
example of the primitive church at Salem, the Pas- 
tor, and Oliver, his ruling elder, assisted by two 
deacons, offered prayers for each other mutually, 
with imposition of hands. 

Boston was taking the character of the capital 
town. It was " thought by general consent " to 
be " the fittest place for public meetings of any 
place in the Bay." The claim of Blaxton, the 
earlier occupant, was quieted by " fifty acres of 
ground set out for him near to his house in Bos- 
ton, to enjoy forever." It was " ordered that there 
should be a market kept at Boston, upon every 
Thursday." The Magistrates directed the build- 
ing of a house of correction there for the colony 
to use, and of a dwelling-house for a beadle. At 


that time Boston showed only a few cabins, on the 
eastern declivity and at the foot of a hill which 
fronted towards the sea. At high water its prim- 
itive area, of about two square miles, looked like 
two islands. A drawbridge was soon thrown 
across the narrow channel which separated them, 
and nature had provided for their connection with 
the mainland by a narrow isthmus, a mile in 
length. The uneven surface was divided among 
three hills, since called Beacon Hill, Fort Hill, and 
Copp's Hill, with their intervening valleys. 

The colonists had few natives in their vicinity, 
and they had little opportunity to acquaint them- 
selves with the more formidable tribes of the inte- 
rior. In the first spring after Winthrop's arrival, 
Chickatabot, said to have been then chief sachem 
of the Massachusetts, visited him with an 
attendance of his principal men and their 5iaiih23. 
wives, bringing from his home on Neponset River 
the present of a hogshead of Indian corn. Pleased 
with his hospitable reception, he repeated his^ j^^j. 
visit in a few weeks, and a communication 
of good offices was established. The Massachu- 
setts Indians were interested to make the English 
their protectors against the Tarratines, of whose 
hostility they were in constant dread. A move- 
ment of the Tarratines in fact occasioned a mo- 
mentary uneasiness to the colonists. A hundred 
warriors of that tribe came up the Merri- 
mack in canoes by night, and, killing sev- 
eral of the friendly natives, stole down as far as 


Saugus, whence they retraced their steps, terrified 
by a discharge of the English alarm-guns. This 
was the first disturbance from the natives in the 
new colony. 

A visit from another native about the time 
of that of Chickatabot had ultimately more im- 
portant consequences. An Indian from Connecti- 
. , cut River came to the Governor with a re- 

Apnl 4. 

quest " to have some Englishmen to come 
plant in his country, and offered to find them 
corn, and give them yearly eighty skins of beaver ; 
and that the country was very fruitful, &c., and 
wished that there might be two men sent with 
him to see the country." The object appeared to 
be to obtain an alliance with the English against 
the Pequots. " The Governor entertained him at 
dinner, but would send none with him." A party 
jgg2 of Narragansett Indians having pursued 
April 12. some Pokanoket allies of Plymouth to 
an English outpost, Winthrop sent twenty-seven 
pounds of powder to Standish, who had been de- 
spatched to their relief ; upon which the Narragan- 
setts withdrew. Four months later, a Narragansett 

chief, named Miantonomo, destined to act, 

Aug. 3-5. , . . . , . 

at a later time, a conspicuous part in this 
history, came with his wife and several attendants 
1o Boston, where he was courteously entertained 
by the Governor. Nothing took place to indicate 
the design of his visit ; but soon after some symp- 
toms of prevailing disaffection on the part of the 
natives were observed. The Narragansetts were 


known to have held meetings, which, as they gave 
out, related to an expedition against the Nipnets. 
A friendly powwow sent information that a plot 
was on foot ; and, as a measme of precaution, 
a camp was formed at Boston. The small-pox, 
which spread among the Indians about this time, 
was thought by some to have been the main pro- 
tection of the feeble colony. Possibly it may have 
been for a consultation on Indian affairs that Win- 
throp, accompanied by his Pastor, Mr. Wilson, now 
made a visit to Plymouth. The journey, performed 
on foot, took two days each way. 

The Indians had had no provocation to unfriend- 
liness. Not a foot of land previously in their oc- 
cupation had been appropriated by the colonists, 
except by purchase. The region around Massa- 
chusetts Bay, almost depopulated by the epidem- 
ics which had prevailed before the arrival of the 
English, was for the most part vacant for their 
possession, without interference with the rights of 
any earlier inhabitant. The English Company, 
in its instructions to the settlers, had been scru- 
pulously tender of the claims, and thoughtful for 
the welfare, of the aborigines of the soil. And 
through the whole period of the colonial history, 
the legislation respecting the natives was eminently 
just and humane. 

The last harvest raised by the English in and 
about Boston had been scanty, by reason of cold 
and wet weather through the summer. The sup- 
plies brought from England were inadequate ; and, 


the winter which succeeded proving a severe one, 
the settlers suffered scarcely less than in that which 
immediately followed their arrival. 

The hardship would have been greater, had there 
been a larger number of recently arrived emigrants 
to provide for. But in the year after the great 
emigration not quite a hundred came, and in 
the following year only about two hundred and 
fifty. Persons in England who were meditating 
a removal were naturally willing further to watch 
the experiment that was in progress ; and what 
they had learned respecting it had not been highly 
encouraging. The accounts which had been re- 
ceived of sickness and famine, and the return of 
some whose resolution had not held out, had 
tended to give a check to the enterprise. More- 
over, representations injurious to the colony had 
been made by the Brownes, Morton, and others, 
who had fallen under its censure. These, backed 
by the great interest of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, 
and of John Mason, who was concerned with him 
in the eastern grants, had not been without effect 
upon the minds of men in power. The malcon- 
tents had actually prevailed to have their com- 
plaints entertained by the Privy Council, and well- 
founded apprehensions of annoyance from the 
home government were felt by the friends of the 

This storm, however, blew over for the time. 
Cradock, Humphrey, and Saltonstall appeared in 
the Company's behalf before a committee of the 


Council, and had the address or the good fortune 
to vindicate their clients. The complaint ^^^ 
was dismissed ; and the Council went so •^*'^- ^^• 
far as to pronounce *• that the adventurers had 
cause to go on cheerfully with their undertakings, 
and to rest assured, if things were carried as was 
pretended when the patents were granted, and ac- 
cordingly as by the patents it was appointed, his 
Majesty would not only maintain the liberties and 
privileges heretofore granted, but supply anything 
further that might tend to the good government 
of the place, and prosperity and comfort of his 
people there." 

At the annual election in the following spring, 
for a fourth time Winthrop was made Gov- 
ernor, and Dudley Deputy- Govern or ; and *^ 
the eight Assistants of the last year were rechosen, 
with the addition of Sir Richard Saltonstall, who 
was expected soon to return from England. 



The death of Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
made way for the accession of the furious Laud 
to the primacy. This event was nearly contem- 
poraneous with a renewal of emigration to New 
England, which it is not unlikely to have prompted. 
The number of Englishmen that came in 
this year to settle in Massachusetts was 
about seven hundred. In one of the companies 
came John Haynes, an opulent landholder 

^ ■ * of the County of Essex, and three famous 
divines, Thomas Hooker, Samuel Stone, and John 
Cotton. These were men of eminent capacity 
and sterling character, fit to be concerned in the 
building of a State. 

Hooker and Stone went to Newtown, and were 
chosen, the former to be Pastor, the latter to be 
Teacher, of a church established there. Cotton, 
much coveted by other plantations, became asso- 
ciated with Wilson as Teacher of the Boston 
church. The new ministers were severally in- 
ducted to their offices with solemnities similar to 
those first used at Salem. 

Cotton, the son of a barrister in easy circum- 
stances, had been educated at Trinity College, and 


had afterwards been a Fellow and Tutor of Eni- 
tnanuel College, in the University of Cambridge, 
at which he acquired a distinguished reputation for 
ability and learning. For nearly twenty years be- 
fore Winthrop's emigration to America, Cotton had 
been rector of St. Botolph's Church, at Boston, in 
Lincolnshire, where his professional labors were 
of astonishing amount, and the sanctity and min- 
gled force and amiableness of his character won 
for him a vast influence. At the departure of 
Winthrop's company, he made a journey to take 
leave of them at Southampton. The Lord Keeper, 
Williams, his diocesan, was his personal friend, 
and desired to deal gently with him for non-con- 
forming practices with which he was truly charged. 
But the stern vigilance of the new Archbishop was 
not to be eluded. The dogs of the High Commis- 
sion Court were set upon Cotton, and with diffi- 
culty he escaped to London, where for a time he 
was concealed by John Davenport, then vicar of 
St. Stephen's, and by other friends. His design 
to get out of the kingdom was known or suspected, 
and pursuivants were sent to arrest him and Hooker 
at the Isle of Wight, where it was supposed they 
would embark. But they went on board in the 
Downs, and, avoiding discovery, arrived at their 

The example of men of such note as had re- 
cently come over, and the desire of being asso- 
ciated with them, had a favorable effect on further 
emigration. The renewal of the movement at- 


tracted the attention of the English court, and 
secured a more favorable hearing for the represen- 
tations of disaffected persons, if indeed we are not 
rather to suppose that the injurious representations 
were invited and rewarded by the government at 
home. The spirit of the court had now reached 
its height of arrogance and passion. It was at 
this time that ship-money was first levied, and the 
Star Chamber was rioting in the barbarities which 
were soon to bring an awful retribution. The 
precedent by which, in disregard of the chartered 
privileges of the Virginia Company, the govern- 
ment of Virginia had been taken into the king's 
hands, was urged in relation to the Massachusetts 
Company. An order in Council was obtained, re- 
1534 • citing that "the Board is given to under- 

Feb. 21. g^g^jj^j Qf Hig frequent transportation of great 
numbers of his Majesty's subjects out of this king- 
dom to the plantation called New England, amongst 
whom divers persons known to be ill-affected, dis- 
contented not only with civil but ecclesiastical 
government here, are observed to resort thither, 
M^hereby such confusion and distraction is already 

grown there, especially in point of religion, as, 
beside the ruin of the said plantation, cannot but 
highly tend to the scandal both of Church and 
State here." Thereupon it commanded the deten- 
tion of " divers ships now in the river of Thames, 
ready to sail thither, freighted with passengers 

and provisions in each ship," and the production 

before the board, by Mr. Cradock, of the charter 


of the Massachusetts Company. Cradock's reply, 
that the charter had gone to America, perhaps first 
apprised the government of that important fact. 

Intelligence of the threatening state of affairs 
in England had not reached the colony, when a 
transaction took place of the utmost importance in 
relation to its internal order. It now contained 
three or four thousand inhabitants, distributed in 
sixteen towns. The settlements had so extended, 
that the most distant, Ipswich, was thirty miles 
from the capital, and it was not convenient or safe 
for the freemen all to travel to Boston at the same 
time. Everything tended to a change in the or- 
ganization of the government ; and the considera- 
tions which manifested its necessity at the same 
time dictated its form. The freemen, by some pre- 
vious concert, the method of which is not recorded, 
determined to do by representation a part of the 
office which belonged to them in the management 
of the corporate business ; and, at the fifth Gen- 
eral Court held in Massachusetts, twenty- 

' ^ May 14. 

four persons appeared, delegated by eight 
towns, " to meet and consider of such matters as 
they [the freemen] were to take order in at the 
same General Court." This great step was an 
easy extension of the proceeding of the Court 
of the second year before, when deputies had 
been sent fi-om the towns with a power limited 
to the assessment of taxes. 

The delegates of the eight towns "desired a 
sight of the patent," and concluded its sense to be 


" that all their laws should be made at the Greneral 
Court," — a great abridgment of the power of the 
Assistants, as hitherto it had been exercised. 
Proceeding on this interpretation of the charter, 
the Court carried out in a business-like manner 
an administrative reform, which had evidently 
been well considered beforehand. They resolved 
" that none but the General Court had power to 

make and establish laws ; or to elect and 

appoint," remove, or determine the duties and 
powers of, civil or military officers ; or " to raise 
moneys and taxes, and to dispose of lands." 
Some recent orders of the Assistants were re- 
scinded, and for one order the Assistants were 
punished by a fine. Their judicial power was 
restricted by a rule " that no trial should pass 
upon any for life or banishment, but by a jury 
summoned, or by the General Court." The char- 
ter had provided for four General Courts in a year. 
Since the first summer of its administration in 
New England, only one in each year had been 
convened, the annual spring Court of Elections. 
It was now " ordered, that there shall be four Gen- 
eral Courts held yearly, to be summoned by the 
Governor for the time being, and not to be dis- 
solved without the consent of the major part of 
the Court." And finally, to give permanence to 
the representative power of the Commons, it was 
enacted, " that it shall be lawful for the freemen 
of every plantation to choose two or three of each 
town before every General Court, to confer of and 


prepare such public business as by them shall be 
thought fit to consider of at the next General 
Court ; and that such persons as shall be hereafter 
so deputed by the freemen of the several planta- 
tions to deal in their behalf in the public affairs of 
the Commonwealth, shall have the full power and 
voices of all the said freemen, derived to them for 
the making and establishing of laws, granting of 
lands, &c., and to deal in all other affairs of the 
Commonwealth wherein the freemen have to do, 
the matter of election of Magistrates and other 
officers only excepted, wherein every freeman is to 
give his own voice." 

Thus, after an administration of four years un- 
der the charter, the freemen took a share in the 
government out of the hands of the oligarchy of 
Magistrates into their own. The new policy was 
not unnaturally inaugurated by the deposition of 
the highest representative of the policy which was 
abandoned. Dudley was chosen Governor instead 
of Winthrop ; Ludlow was made Deputy- Gov- 
ernor, and Winthrop took Ludlow's place as an 
Assistant. A change of rulers was recommended 
by other considerations. Some personal disaffec- 
tion towards Winthrop had grown up. The " old 
planters " might naturally be jealous of him. In 
the transactions at Watertown, he might be thought 
to have assumed an overbearing tone. He had had 
differences with Dudley, and with Coddington, now 
chosen Treasurer. He must have offended not a 
few persons in his four years' exercise of high, but 


ill-defined powers. Cotton had made a mistake in 
endeavoring to support him. Lately arrived as he 
was, Cotton laid down the doctrine, in his election 
sermon before the General Court, that " a Magis- 
trate ought not to be turned into the condition of 
a private man without just cause, and to be pub- 
licly convict, no more than the Magistrates may 
not turn a private man out of his freehold without 
like public trial." The freemen quietly expressed 
their judgment of the theory of public office being 
of the nature of a freehold, by abstaining for four 
years from a reelection of any person to be Gov- 
ernor at the end of his official terra. 

There were not wanting to Winthrop the mor- 
tifications with which the popular mood is apt to 
pursue superseded favorites. Soon after he ceased 
to be Governor, " the inhabitants of Boston met 
to choose seven men who should divide the town 
lands among them ; " and Winthrop was elected 
only " by a voice or two," with " one of the elders 
and a deacon, and the rest of the inferior sort." 
Another transaction touched him more nearly. 
The General Court, apparently with a design of 
annoyance, appointed a committee " to receive his 
account of such things as he had received and dis- 
bursed for public use." The result was triumphant 
for him. It showed that his disbursements for the 
pnblic had exceeded his receipts by more than a 
thousand pounds. " It repenteth me not," said the 
sublime man, " of my cost or labor bestowed in 
the service of this commonwealth, but do heartily 


bless the Lord our God, that he hath pleased to 
honor me so far as to call for anything he hath 
bestowed upon me for the service of his church 
and people here, the prosperity whereof, and his 
gracious acceptance, shall be an abundant recom- 
pense to me." 

For half a century, down to the abrogation of 
the charter of Massachusetts, the only changes in 
the arrangements respecting the legislature now 
constituted, were its division into two branches 
sitting apart, with a negative each upon the other, 
and the practice of two annual sessions instead of 
four. As Magistrates were chosen by joint vote 
of the freemen of the colony in their General 
Court, so Deputies were elected by the freemen 
of the towns which they respectively represented. 

We turn back to the primitive colony of Plym- 
outh, overshadowed, as it had now been, by the 
more important settlement of the Massachusetts 
Company. At the time when Winthrop and his 
associates came over, Plymouth had a population 
of about three hundred persons. A year earlier, 
thirty-five members of the Leyden church had 
joined their friends, accomplishing a long- 1629. 
deferred hope of both parties. The poor *"^"*'' 
people of Plymouth, just involved in new pecu- 
niary obligations to an oppressive amount, were 
but too happy, not only to defray all the ex- 
penses of the new-comers, but to give them 
dwellings, and supply them with food for more 
than a year, till there was time for them to make 


provision for themselves. Another party came 
over with Winthrop's fleet. The two cost their 
American friends five hundred and fifty pounds 
sterling for their outfit and transportation from 
Holland, in addition to the expense of their recep- 
tion and of their support till the second following 
harvest. The consequence of this generosity was 
eminently beneficial. In proportion as members 
of the Leyden congregation became numerous at 
Plymouth, the better party there — the party 
of Bradford, Brewster, and their compeers — was 
strengthened, and the colony was made to con- 
form more to its original design. 

Mr. Smith was the minister of the settlement, 

succeeding in that place to Rogers, who had been 

brought from England by Mr. Allerton, but 

who proved to be " crazed in his brain, so 

they were fain to be at further charge to send him 

back again the next year." Arriving at Salem 

in company with Higginson and Skelton, 

1629. r^ • 1 1 1 n n 

Smith had gone at first to the fishing- 
station at Nantasket, and there was found by the 
Plymouth people, who, for want of better, took 
him home with them, and set him in the place 
which the revered Robinson should have filled. 

The perseverance of Allerton obtained from the 
Council for New England a patent for Plymouth 
jggo more suitable to the existing condition of 
•'■ °- ^3- that colony than that which had been issued 
nine years before to John Pierce and his asso- 
ciates. The new patent conveyed to William Brad- 


ford, his heirs, associates, and assigns, a tract of 
land including Plymouth, and another on the Ken- 
nebec, both of which, however, for want of geo- 
graphical knowledge, were imperfectly defined ; 
and it invested the associates, in respect to the 
granted territory, with all the power which the 
Council, by its charter, was made capable of con- 
veying to its assigns. Under this instrument the 
Colony of Plymouth was managed, down to the 
end of its separate history. A royal charter, with 
the same privileges as were conferred on the Mas- 
sachusetts Company, was much desired, but though 
often solicited, and sometimes at considerable cost, 
could never be obtained. 

For four or five years from this time, the busi- 
ness relations between the partners at Plymouth 
and those at London became more and more com- 
plicated and unsatisfactory. Allerton, who passed 
between them as agent for the Plymouth associates, 
fell under the serious displeasure of his employers 
for transactions implicating them without their 
authority, as well as for other alleged misconduct, 
and was continued in his trust only through ten- 
derness for Brewster, whose daughter was Aller- 
ton's wife. In two years he had raised their debt 
from four hundred pounds to four thousand. Still, 
under the honest and wise conduct of Bradford 
and his associates, affairs prospered on the small 
scale that belonged to them. " Though the part- 
ners," writes Bradford, " were plunged into great 
engagements, and oppressed with unjust debts, yet 


the Lord prospered their trading, that they made 

yearly large returns Also, the people of 

the plantation began to grow in their outward 
estates, by reason of the flowing of many people 
Into the country, especially into the Bay of the 
Massachusetts, by which means corn and cattle 
grew to a great price, by which many were much 
enriched, and commodities grew plentifuL" 

As property and a sense of security increased, 
the people of Plymouth showed a disposition to 
disperse, for the convenience of more past- 
urage and other accommodations. A sep- 
arate church and town, with the name of Duxbury, 
were established on the north side of the harbor, 
and grazing lands were assigned at Marshjield to 
persons who engaged to keep them by servants, 
and not remove themselves from the original set- 

Enterprises at a distance from their home m op- 
posite directions, involved the Plymouth people in 
some troublesome disputes. The colonial partners, 
in connection with four of their London friends, 
had reluctantly consented to establish a trading- 
house on the Penobscot, under the charge of one 
Edward Ashley, with whom AUerton had treated 
for that purpose in London. When Acadia was 
ceded to France by the treaty of St. Ger- 
main, the extent of the territory denoted by 
that name was left undefined. Claiming Ashley's 
post as within the domain of their sovereign, a 
party of French came and rifled it, carrying off 


property valued at more than five hundred pounds 

The other eastern trading-house of Plymouth, on 
the Kennebec, gave occasion to a conflict of a dif- 
ferent nature. The Plymouth people understood 
that their patent right to territory on this river 
gave them the monopoly of the Indian traffic there. 
A person named Hocking, in command of a vessel 
from the Piscataqua belonging to Lord Say and 
Sele, insisted on going up the river to trade. 
Rowland, the Plymouth commander, after 
unavailing remonstrance, ordered his men 
to cut the cable of the ship's anchor. Hocking 
shot one of them, and was himself shot dead in 
return. The General Court of Massachusetts 
thought proper to interfere. Alden, one of the 
party, and a principal person of Plymouth, 
coming presently after to Boston for a visit, 
was detained to answer for what had been done ; 
and the Massachusetts Magistrates were scarcely 
induced to desist from a prosecution of it by ex- 
planations which Standish first, and afterwards 
Bradford, Winslow, and Smith, the minister, were 
sent to make in person. Winslow soon after went 
a third time to England, partly on the errand of 
pacifying Lord Say and Sele. 

The attention of the Plymouth people had been 
turned to a different quarter by what from time to 
time they had heard, from native and Dutch visit- 
ors, of a river to the west of them, called the Fresh 
River, and the Connecticut River, " a fine place 

TOL. I. 10 


both for plantation and trade." They had further 
heard of the visit made to Winthrop, the first 
spring after his landing, by an Indian chief, who 
had offered him a settlement on the Connecticut, 
with a yearly present of corn and beaver. Wins- 
1633. l^w ^"^ Bradford went to Boston, to see 
•""'y^- whether a partnership could be arranged on 
this basis between individuals of the two colonies. 
This scheme coming to nothing, the Plymouth 
people, on their own account, despatched 
a vessel to the Connecticut with the frame 
of a house, and workmen and materials for its 
construction. Having sailed fifty miles up the 
river, to the place where now stands Hartford, they 
were challenged by a party of Dutch, who had 
thrown up a rude work, and mounted two small 
cannon. When nothing worse than some alterca- 
tion had ensued, the English passed on, and landing 
above, at what is now the town of Windsor, put 
up, fortified, and provisioned their house, in which 
a portion of their number remained. A company 
of Dutch who in the following year came from 
New Amsterdam to expel the intruders, having 
made their observations on the spirit and the dis- 
position of the little garrison, were prevailed on 
to retire without violence ; and the English and 
Dutch outposts continued to scowl harmlessly at 
one another. 

All that is extant of what can properly be called 
the legislation of the first twelve years of the col- 
ony of Plymouth suffices to cover in print only two 


pages of a common octavo volume. That of the 
first five years consists of a single enact- iq23. 
ment, establishing the trial by jury. In ^^•"• 
the tenth year, after many misgivings as to their 
power, the colonists inflicted capital pun- iggQ 
ishment upon a murderer, John Billington, ^^*" 
one of the company of the Mayflower. In the 
twelfth year a journal was begun, which, 
under the name of Court Orders, exhibits 
thenceforward the miscellaneous proceedings both 
of the General Courts, consisting of the body of 
freemen, and of the Courts of Magistrates, in the 
threefold character corresponding to their legisla- 
tive, judicial, and executive functions. 

After serving twelve years as Governor, Brad- 
ford was relieved from that office at his 


own urgent request, and was succeeded by 
Edward Winslovv. At the end of his official year, 
Winslow, perhaps pleading his privilege of 
exemption accorded by a recent law, was 
in his turn succeeded by Thomas Prince, a pas- 
senger in the Fortune. At the time of Prince's 
accession, a colonial tax of fifty-eight pounds and 
seventeen shillings was assessed on seventy-seven 
men and four women. The tax-list of the next 
preceding year, the earliest which is extant, con- 
tains the names of eighty-six men and three 
women. When the Court Orders registry 

° "' 1633. 

was begun, the freemen were sixty-eight 
in number. 



Four years had now passed since the great 
emigration, under Winthrop's conduct, to Massa- 

jgg^ chusetts Bay. The worst hardships of a 
new plantation had been outlived. The 
infant society had been organized into coherence, 
symmetry, and a capacity of self-preservation and 
growth. The emigration had been recently re- 
newed ; and between three and four thousand Eng- 
lishmen were distributed among twenty hamlets 
along and near the sea-shore. 

They were settling into such employments as 
their situation dictated. They cultivated the 
ground, and took care of herds and flocks. They 
hunted and fished for a part of their food. They 
were building houses, boats, and mills ; enclosing 
land with fences; and cutting roads through the 
forest to connect their towns. Their exports of 
cured fish, furs, and lumber bought them articles 
of convenience and luxury in England, and they 
were soon to build ships to be sold abroad. The 
customs of daily life were taking the new shapes 
impressed upon them by the strangeness of a con- 
dition so novel, and the course of public admin- 


istration was beginning to be made regular by 

The freemen of the company were now about 
three hundred and fifty in number. More than 
two thirds of them had been admitted to the fran- 
chise since the establishment of the religious test, 
and a majority of the residue were also members 
of churches. As yet, all the Magistrates were per- 
sons who had first been appointed in England, 
with the exception of John Haynes, who had lately 
arrived, and John Winthrop the younger, the Gov- 
ernor's son. Not a few others of the freemen, from 
both position and character, had good pretensions 
to be admitted to the body charged with the ex- 
ecutive and judicial administration ; but, though 
the charter authorized the choice of twenty Magis- 
trates, for several years only about half as many 
were elected, the vacancies being kept for the men 
of rank who were expected to come over. 

The clergy, now thirteen or fourteen in number, 
constituted in some sort a separate estate of special 
dignity. Though they were excluded from secular 
office, the relation of their functions to the spirit and 
aim of the community which had been founded, 
as well as their personal weight of ability and char- 
acter, gave great authority to their advice. Nearly 
all were graduates of Oxford or of Cambridge, and 
had held livings in the Established Church of Eng- 
land. Several had been eminent among their fel- 
lows for all professional endowments. 

The difficulties of the enterprise were by no 


means yet over. The freedom which the colonists 
had attained by heroic sacrifice they had now to 
secure by practical wisdom. Its permanence was 
exposed to two dangers. It was threatened by the 
hostility of the English government, and by dis- 
sensions in the new community. And in circum- 
stances likely to occur, each of these dangers would 
increase the other. 

Of the reality and nearness of the danger of an- 
noyance from the home government the colonists 
had had warning in the recent complaints against 
them to the Privy Council. For protection against 
it they were to look to their charter, as long as the 
grants in that instrument should continue to be 
respected. Their charter was their palladium. To 
lose it would be ruin. Whatever might imperil 
it required to be watched with the most jealous 

Against internal dissensions they had an easy 
remedy. The freemen had a right, in equity and 
in law, to expel from their territory all persons who 
should give them trouble. In their corporate capa- 
city, they were owners of Massachusetts in fee, by 
a title to all intents as good as that by which any 
freeholder among them had held his English farm. 
As against all Europeans, whether English or Con- 
tinental, they owned it by a grant from the crown 
of England, to which, by a well-settled principle, 
the disposal of it belonged, in consequence of its 
discovery by an English subject. In respect to 
any adverse claim on the part of the natives, they 


had either found the land unoccupied, or had be- 
come possessed of it with the consent of its earlier 
proprietors. And the privilege of determining who 
should occupy it along with them they regarded as 
being further assured to them by the letter of Eng- 
lish law ; for the royal charter under which they 
held gave them express power to " expulse all such 
person and persons as should at any time attempt 
or enterprise detriment or annoyance to their plan- 
tation or its inhabitants." Accordingly, while the 
associate who could sympathize with them, and 
join his hand with theirs in building up the new 
institutions in Church and State, was welcome, 
whoever had views and objects so different from 
theirs that his presence among them would be an 
occasion of weakness or of strife, had, in their 
judgment, no claim to fasten himself upon them. 

However distasteful to the Magistrates the action 
of the fifth General Court had for the moment 
been, they found reason to rejoice in it before the 
next four years were passed. A suspended ques- 
tion of power between them and the freemen, with 
its attendant disputes and jealousies, would have 
disabled both parties for the action which events 
were about to require ; and the extension of the re- 
sponsibility of government to a considerable num- 
ber of persons, with a great interest in common, 
and capacity to understand it, proved to be an 
opportune element of strength. The Court had 
scarcely been dissolved, when tidings came 
from England of a nature to impress the ''^^- 


minds of the rulers in Massachusetts, more seri- 
ously than ever before, with a sense of the magni- 
tude of the task they had undertaken. 

The jealousy of the royal government, carried on 
for the last five years without a Parliament, and 
growing every day more despotic in Church and 
State, had been revealed in the order of the Privy 
Council to detain ten vessels about to sail from 
London with passengers for New England. The 
attempts against the charter, baffled a year before, 
were renewed, and an order had been obtained from 
the Lords of the Council for its production at their 
board. The alarm in Massachusetts reached its 
height when intelligence came of a design to send 
out a General Governor, and of the creation of a 
special commission, with Laud, Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, at its head, for the management of all the 
colonies and for the revocation of their charters. 
Mr. Cradock transmitted a copy of the Order of 
Council requiring the production of the patent. 
For the present, the Magistrates simply replied, that 
they had no power to do anything of the kind with- 
out the direction of the General Court, which would 
not meet for two months. They sent letters, " to 
mediate their peace," by Mr. Winslow, on whose 
personal agency it may be presumed that they also 
placed reliance. 

There is no matter of surprise in the vigorous 
assault now made upon the charter of Massachu- 
setts by the counsellors of King Charles. The 
difficult questions are, how such a charter came to 


be originally granted, and why, when assailed only 
a year before the present hostile movements, it had 
been treated with so much favor. Considering the 
character of the King on the one hand, and the pro- 
visions of the charter on the other, it seems neces- 
sary to conclude, either that its tenor was not well 
known to him when it received his assent, or else 
that his purpose in granting it was to encourage 
the departure of Puritans from England, at the 
time when he was entering upon measures which 
might bring on a dangerous conflict with that 
party. The former supposition is scarcely to be 
reconciled with what appears to be a well-authen- 
ticated fact, that the charter was procured through 
the intervention of that vigilant courtier and sensi- 
tive churchman. Lord Dorchester. The latter sup- 
position derives some plausibility from the tortu- 
ous policy of the King, a policy to which his expe- 
rienced diplomatist was in no wise averse. 

The charter of the Massachusetts Company had 
passed the seals almost simultaneously with the 
King's annunciation, after an exciting controversy 
with three Parliaments, of his purpose to govern 
without Parliaments in future. It might well ap- 
pear to him, that, in the contests which perhaps 
were to follow, his task would be made easier, if 
numbers of the patriots could be tempted to absent 
themselves from the kingdom ; and when he should 
have succeeded, and the laws and liberties of Eng- 
land should be stricken down, there would be noth- 
ing in his past grants to embarrass him in his 


treatment of the exiles, and his arm would be long 
enough to reach and strong enough to crush them 
in their distant hiding-place. Or if no scheme so 
definite as tliis was entertained, the grant of the 
charter, inviting attention to a distant object, might 
do something for his present relief, by breaking up 
the dangerous concentration of the thoughts of the 
Puritans on the state of affairs at home. 

Whatever was the King's design in granting the 
charter, nothing occurred to change his course of 
action in respect to it for the next four years. 
"Within that time there had been only one large 
emigration ; and, if he heard anything of the colony, 
he must have heard that it seemed languishing. 
There was, therefore, no motive to lay a heavy 
hand on it; and accordingly the complaint of 
Mason and others, at the end of the fourth year, 
was carelessly dismissed. In the fifth year, things 
took a different turn. Eight or nine hundred Eng- 
lishmen went to Massachusetts, some of them im- 
portant men. The colony had got through its first 
difficulties, and was vigorous. K the King and his 
archbishop had heard of all that it had been doing, 
they knew that its progress could not be stopped 
too soon for their advantage. On the other hand, 
Charles seemed to have surmounted the first diffi- 
culties of his career as an absolute monarch. More 
than five years had passed of government without 
a Parliament, and England was not in arms. Sub- 
servient courts of justice, and the parasites about 
his person, may well have persuaded him that 


England was at his feet. He had just come from 
his coronation in Scotland, elated with his loyal 
reception in the dominion of his fathers. The 
Star Chamber was in unopposed activity. Laud 
had just been made the first clergyman, peer, and 
counsellor of the realm ; and Laud, at the ear of 
his sovereign, was not a man to forget the claims 
of the Church, or to postpone the harsh exercise of 
power. We may find it hard to satisfy ourselves 
of the reason for granting the charter of Massa- 
chusetts Bay ; but as to the causes of the early 
proceedings for its destruction there is no per- 

The General Court of Magistrates and Deputies 
came together, and on their table lay a copy of the 
instrument which gave power to eleven courtiers 
to ruin them and theirs. The Commissioners were 
found to be the two archbishops, six lay peers, and 
three other high functionaries. They, or any five 
of them, were invested with " power of protection 
and government" over all English colonies. They 
had authority " to make laws, orders, and consti- 
tutions ; " to provide for the maintenance of a 
clergy " by tithes, oblations, and other profits ; " 
" to inflict punishment, either by impris- 
onment or other restraints, or by loss of life or 
members ; " to remove and appoint governors and 
other oflicers ; to establish ecclesiastical courts ; to 
hear and determine complaints, " either against 
the whole colonies, or any private mem- 
ber thereof," and for that purpose " to summon 


the persons before them ; " and finally, to call in 
all letters-patent, and, if any were found to con- 
vey privileges hurtful to the " crown or prerogative 
royal," to cause them to be legally revoked. 

Since the tidings came from England of the 
alarming measures in train, the members of the 
Court had had time for conference with their 
neighbors, and were probably well agreed as to 
what business they should transact. A determined 
spirit does not closely calculate resources. It easily 
believes that the way will appear, when the will is 

g^ J. g constant. The first orders adopted were for 
the erection of fortifications on Castle Island 
in Boston harbor, and at Charlestown and Dor- 
chester. Next the captains were authorized " to 
train unskilful men so often as they pleased, pro- 
vided they exceeded not three days in a week." 
Dudley, Winthrop, Haynes, Humphrey, and Endi- 
cott were appointed "to consult, direct, and give 
command for the managing and ordering of any 
war that might befall for the space of a year next 
ensuing, and till further order should be taken 
therein." Arrangements were made for the col- 
lection and custody of arms and ammunition. 
During the winter no new alarm came from 
jggg abroad. The ministers were invited by the 

Jan. 19. Governor and Assistants to a consultation 
at Boston on the existing state of affairs. All 
came but one, Mr. Ward, who was lately ar- 
rived ; and the unanimous advice of those present 

was : " If a General Governor were sent, we ought 


not to accept him, but defend our lawful posses- 
sions, if we were able ; otherwise to avoid or pro- 
tract." It might prove that the King of England 
was able to coerce these people by force ; to coerce 
them by intimidation was beyond his power. 

The great subject of anxiety presented itself 
again at the next General Court. An order 
was passed, " that the fort at Castle Island, 
now begun, shall be fully perfected, the ordnances 
mounted, and every other thing about it finished;" 
and the Deputy-Governor, who had it in charge, 
was empowered " to press men for that work." 
Another vote directed, " that there should be forth- 
with a beacon set on the sentry hill at Boston, to 

give notice to the country of any danger, 

and that, upon the discovery of any danger, the 
beacon should be fired." To secure a supply of 
musket-balls, they were made a legal tender for 
payments, at the rate of a farthing apiece, instead 
of the coin, the circulation of which was forbid- 
den. Further rules were made for the enforcement 
of a strict military discipline ; and the " Freeman's 
Oath " of fidelity to the local government was re- 
quired to be taken by every man " resident within 
the jurisdiction," and being " of or above the age 
of sixteen years." Finally a military commission 
was established with extraordinary powers. The 
Magistrates and Mr. Bellingham were the commis- 
sioners. They were authorized " to dispose of all 
military affairs whatsoever ; " " to ordain and re- 
move all military officers ; " " to do whatsoever 


might be behooveful for the good of the plantation, 
in case of any war that might befall ;" " to imprison 
or confine any that they should judge to be enemies 
to the Commonwealth ; and such as could not 
come under command or restraint, as they should 
be required, it should be lawful for the commis- 
sioners to put such persons to death." 

The demand from England for a transmission 
of the charter had received no other notice from 
the General Court than what these proceedings 
imply. The government of Charles the First was 
pressed with too much business to follow up a 
policy of consistent rigor against the contumacious 
colony. But another business of the worst omen 
was at the same time in train. The Council for 
New England, having struggled through nearly 
fifteen years of maladministration and ill luck, 
had yielded to the discouragements which beset 
it. By the royal favor, it had triumphed over the 
rival Virginia Company, to be overwhelmed in its 
turn by the just jealousy of Parliament, and by 
dissensions among its members. The Council, 
having by profuse and inconsistent grants of its 
lands exhausted its common property, as well as 
its credit with purchasers for keeping its engage- 
ments, had no motive to continue its organization. 
Under these circumstances, it determined on a res- 
ignation of its charter to the King, and a surrender 
of the administration of its domain to a General 
Governor of his appointment, on the condition 
that all the territory, a large portion of which by 


its corporate action had already been alienated to 
other parties, should be granted in severalty by the 
King to the members of the Council. Twelve 
associates accordingly proceeded to a distribution 
of New England among themselves by lot ; and 
nothing was wanting to render the transaction 
complete, and to transfer to them the ownership 
of that region, except to oust the previous paten- 
tees, of whom the most powerful body were the 
colonists in Massachusetts Bay. 

To effect this, Sir John Banks, Attorney- General, 
brought a writ of quo warranto in Westminster 
Hall against the Massachusetts Company, igs^. 
Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, and ^^'' 
twelve others of the original associates, " came 
in and pleaded that " they " had never usurped any 
the said liberties, privileges, and franchises in the 
information, nor did use or claim any of the 
same;" and judgment was given that they "should 
not for the future intermeddle with any the liber- 
ties, privileges, or franchises aforesaid, but should 
be forever excluded from all use and claim of the 
same and every of them." Cradock, the former 
Governor, made default; and, in his case, "judg- 
ment was given that he should be convicted of the 
usurpation charged in the information, and that 
the said liberties, privileges, and franchises should 
be taken and seized into the King's hands, the said 
Matthew not to intermeddle with and be excluded 
the use thereof, and the said Matthew to be taken 
to answer to the King for the said usurpation." 


Of the eleven remaining original patentees, Hum- 
phrey, Endicott, Novvell, Bellingham, Pynchon, and 
William Vassall were then in New England, and 
Johnson had died there. 

It seemed that when a few more forms should 
be gone through, all would be over with the pre- 
sumptuous colony. In the view of English law, 
the Englishmen who had gone to Massachusetts 
had no rights and no property there. Divided into 
provinces, Massachusetts belonged to Gorges, Ma- 
son, the Marquis of Hamilton, and whoever else 
had won by lot any of its dismembered parts. In 
the regular course of proceeding, nothing remained 
but for the local government voluntarily to abdi- 
cate, and for the people to abandon their homes, 
or else for the King to send out his Governor, 
backed by a sufficient force, and turn over the land 
to its new masters. But neither of these things 
took place. In Massachusetts, the whole proceed- 
ing was a nullity. Everything went on as if 
Westminster Hall had not spoken. " The Lord 
frustrated their design." 

The disorders of the mother country were a safe- 
guard of the infant liberty of New England. Laud 
was busy with his more important plan of prelor 
tizing the Church of Scotland. England was in a 
rage on the question of ship-money. An unsuc- 
cessful attempt to launch a vessel intended to bring 
over the General Governor, and the decease at this 
juncture of John Mason, were regarded by Win- 
throp as eminent interpositions of God in behalf 


of his chosen people. The death of the able and 
energetic Mason was, at all events, a great relief 
to the leaders of affairs in Massachusetts. As a 
principal member, and Secretary, of the Council 
for New England, and as holder of patents with 
which the Massachusetts charter interfered, he had 
been indefatigable in his endeavors for the annul- 
ling of that instrument. Disaffected persons, re- 
turning from the colony, had steadily resorted to 
him as the standing agent of their revenge ; and, 
with whatever influence he could exert, he had 
promoted the schemes for a Commission for the 
Plantations and a General Governor. Though 
the more generous Gorges lived to render good 
service to his master in the great civil war, he was 
already growing old, and was dispirited by the 
thirty years' ill success of projects which had 
wasted his fortune and involved him in infinite 
discomfort. It was perhaps owing not a little to 
the decay of his former activity that the proceed- 
ings under the quo warranto against the Massa- 
chusetts Company proved fruitless. 

While the events which have been now related 
wore their most alarming phase, domestic embar- 
rassments added to the terrors of foreign encroach- 
ment. In the midst of a crisis calling for all the 
energy and wisdom of the colonists to avert the 
ruin that seemed to impend, a character prominent 
in New England history interposed by a course of 
action which complicated the existing difficulties. 

Roger Williams, after some residence at the 

VOL. I. 11 


University of Oxford, perhaps under the patron- 
age of Sir Edward Coke, is believed to have been 
admitted to orders in the Established Church. He 
had subsequently separated himself from that com- 
munion, and, sympathizing with the hopes of other 
1631. Non-conformists, had arrived at Boston the 
Feb. 6. ,^gj^^ ygg^j after the transportation of the 
charter, being then probably in the twenty-fifth 
year of his age. A reputation for talents and 
piety had preceded him ; and a few weeks only 
passed before the church at Salem invited him to 
succeed Higginson as their Teacher. He had 
made the most of his short time in becoming ob- 
noxious to the government ; and " a letter 
was written from the Court to Mr. Endicott 
to this effect, that, whereas Mr. Williams had re- 
fused to join with the congregation at Boston 
because they would not make public declaration 
of their repentance for having communion with 
the churches of England while they lived there, 
and besides had declared his opinion that the mag- 
istrate might not punish the breach of the Sab- 
bath, nor any other offence as it was a breach of 
the first table, therefore they marvelled they would 
choose him without advising with the Council, and 
withal desiring them that they would forbear to 
proceed till they had conferred about it." 

The Salem church, however, proceeded, and Wil- 
liams had already become their Teacher when the 
remonstrance reached them. Precisely how long 
he remained in this place is not known ; but some 


time in the same, or perhaps in the following year, 
he withdrew to the more benignant atmosphere 
of Plymouth Colony, and became assistant to the 
Pastor of the church there, the Separatist, Mr. 
Smith. The affection of his Salem flock followed 
him, and he was persuaded to retrace his steps, 
and resume a home among them. He returned to 
Salem with more confidence in himself, from the 
position which he had occupied while absent, and 
the popularity which invited him back. 

It was in the year of his reappearance there that 
the courage and policy of the colonists became their 
only protection under God against that wrong- 
headed and bad-hearted churchman who presided 
over the commission intrusted with their ruin. 
Only a few months had passed since the petition 
of Gorges and Mason to the King's Privy Council 
had been dismissed, through what the colonists 
esteemed to be little short of a miraculous inter- 
position of Providence. And late in the same 
year an answer to the charges which had been pro- 
duced in England was still under debate among 
the Magistrates. 

Such being some of the circumstances in which 
the Magistrates of Massachusetts had their renewed 
experience of Williams, it occasions no surprise 
that they interfered again with their advice when 
it was proposed to appoint him to the place lately 
vacated by the death of Mr. Skelton. But 


the Salem church persisted, and formally 
installed him as their Teacher. He was now a 


power in the State, and nobody could be better 
disposed to make himself felt as such. The Magis- 
trates charged him with " teaching publicly 
against the King's patent," and against the 
sin of " claiming right thereby to this country, &c.," 
1635 and with maintaining "that a magistrate 
^^'^'' ought not to tender an oath to an unregen- 
erate person," — a doctrine which, besides the em- 
barrassment it offered to the common administra- 
tion of justice, had special significance at a time 
when it had been thought necessary to impose the 
" Freeman's Oath " and the " Resident's Oath " 
in order to secure allegiance to the colony, even 
in opposition, should that prove needful, to the 

Presently the annual Court of Elections met, 
and Mr. Haynes was chosen Governor, with Mr. 
Bellingham, lately arrived, for Deputy Governor. 
The General Court took up the dispute with Wil- 
liams and his church, and gave them the time 
which would intervene before the next Court 
to exculpate themselves, at the same time, on ac- 
count of the contumacy of Salem, rejecting a peti- 
tion from that town for a grant of land. Williams 
struck back. He caused his church to " write to 
other churches, to admonish the Magistrates of this 
as a heinous sin, and likewise the Deputies." When 
less attention than he desired Was given to this 
missive, Williams addressed himself to his own 
church, exhorting them to renounce all communion 
with the other churches of the colony. 


The next General Court unseated the Deputies 
from Salem, till their constituents should 
apologize for having " exceedingly reproach- 
ed and vilified the Magistrates and churches," 
which was presently done. Next they considered 
the case of Williams, and, findinsr that he 

' ' ° Sept. 3. 

had " broached and divulged divers new 
and dangerous opinions against the authority of 
magistrates, as also writ letters of defamation both 
of the Magistrates and churches," they proceeded 
to deal with him, as numerous disturbers, the 
Brownes, Gardiner, Stone, Walford, Gray, Lynn, 
Smith, and others, had been dealt with before. 
They ordered that he should " depart out of the 
jurisdiction within six weeks," and that, if he did 
not go of himself, the Governor and two of the 
Magistrates might send him. Still he lingered at 
Salem, and the Magistrates did not disturb him, 
till they learned that he was busy rekindling the 
troublesome excitement. Then they sent Captain 
Underbill from Boston to put him on board a ves- 
sel about to sail for England. Three days ^^g, 
before that officer reached Salem, Williams ''^^■ 
left his family there, and took to the woods. 

Forty years after his departure from Salem, 
Williams related that he was " sorely tossed for 
fourteen weeks, in a bitter winter season, not know- 
ing what bread or bed did mean." He appears to 
have passed the winter among the Pokanoket In- 
dians, with whom he had become acquainted dur- 
ing his residence at Plymouth. Governor Win- 


throp, he says, had advised him " to steer his course 
to the Nahigoiisett Bay and Indians." Proceeding 
in that direction, he stopped at Seekonk, 
where, being joined in the spring by a few 
friends from Salem, he " first pitched, and began 
to build and plant." A letter from Governor 
Winslow, however, who told him that he was occu- 
pying land that belonged to Plymouth, induced him 
to change his plan. Embarking, with five com- 
panions, on the Seekonk River, in search of 
another home, he landed on the high point 
which divides that stream from the uppermost inlet 
of Narragansett Bay, and by a spring of water laid 
the foundation of what is now the beautiful city 
of Providence. From the Narragansett chiefs, 
Canonicus and Miantonomo, he obtained leave to 
occupy the lands " lying upon the two fresh rivers, 
Mooshausick and Wanasquatucket." The bargain, 
with its avails, was his own ; he fulfilled it with 
money borrowed on a mortgage of his property in 
Salem ; but he freely gave lands to all comers. 

The government first established was in the 
simplest form of a democracy. For four years a 
town treasurer was the only officer. " We do 
promise " — such was the compact of the associ- 
ates — " to subject ourselves, in active and passive 
obedience, to all such orders or agreements as shall 
be made for public good of the body in an orderly 
way, by the major consent of the present inhab- 
itants, masters of families, incorporated together 
into a township, and such others whom they shall 


admit into the same, only in civil things." Thus it 
was already seen to be necessary to recognize in 
the social constitution the same right as to the 
selection of associates which had been exercised in 
the expulsion of the leader by the Massachusetts 
people. But further experience was required to 
refute some more exalted theories, which a gener- 
ous enthusiasm had too confidently embraced. 

Scarcely any records of the settlement at Provi- 
dence for the first ten years are extant. Such as 
were made are believed to have been mostly 

•' 1676. 

destroyed when the Indians set fire to the 
town in Philip's War. Among the fragments which 
remain, two, besides what have been already re- 
ferred to, are of principal importance. One i638. 
is a grant, to thirteen associates, of " the 
meadow ground at Pawtuxet," lying west of the 
original settlement, on the other side of the bay ; 
a proceeding which was followed by important 
consequences, to be explained hereafter. The other 
exhibits the " Form of Government," devised by 
four " arbitrators " chosen for the purpose, and 
subscribed by thirty-nine freemen as the rule i640. 
of their association. It contains scarcely 
anything except a provision for the adjustment of 
disputes, through a permanent board of " five dis- 
posers," to be chosen by the inhabitants, and the 
subsidiary arrangements suitable for carrying this 
plan into effect. In his new home Williams's own 
restless career took new directions. He be- jgaa. 
came dissatisfied with his baptism, and was ***'^- 


baptized anew. In a few months he distrusted the 
last administration of that ordinance, and waited 
for a new apostolic commission to give it validity. 
" After that, he set himself upon a way of seeking 
(with two or three of those that had dissented with 
him) by way of preaching and praying; and these 
he continued a year or two, till two of the three 
left him." Throughout his long life he continued 
to present a rare specimen of individualism. But 
the vital spirit of religion never deserted him. 



The change of rulers in Massachusetts when 
Winthrop was superseded as Governor had con- 
sisted merely in the promotion of two of his asso- 
ciates in the magistracy, while he was still their 
colleague as an Assistant. The government con- 
tinued to be conducted according to the same 
principles and by the same methods as during the 
four years of his wise and upright administration 
of the chief office. While the recent intelligence 
from England gave great uneasiness, the means 
and the confidence of the colonists were increased 
by the arrival of large numbers of their friends. 

During the year of Dudley's service as Governor, 
Endicott, instigated, as was said, by Roger Wil- 
liams, caused the red cross of Enarland to 


be obliterated from the colors of the train- 
bands under his command. " Much matter was 
made of this," writes Winthrop, " as fearing it 
would be taken as an act of rebellion, or of like 
high nature ; though the truth were, it was done 
upon this opinion, that the red cross was given to 
the King of England by the Pope as an ensign of 
victory, and so a superstitious thing, and a relict 
of Antichrist." The Magistrates weye ^neasy. 


Scruples of their own, as well as of their constit- 
uents, forbade them to condemn the act, yet they 
could not fail to see how much trouble it might 
give them at court. They informed their friend, 
Mr. Downing, in England, of their " dislike of the 
thing, and purpose to punish the offenders," in 
order that, " if occasion were, he might show it in 
their excuse ;" but " they expressed themselves with 
as much wariness as they might, being doubtful 
of the lawful use of the cross in an ensign." The 
question was too perplexing to be immediately dis- 
posed of. " Because the Court could not agree 
about the thing, whether the ensigns should be laid 
by, in regard that many refused to follow 
Marcii4. them, the whole cause was deferred till the 
next General Court, and the commissioners for 
military affairs gave orders in the mean time that 
all the ensigns should be laid aside." 

The freemen did not forget Cotton's lesson con- 
cerning the right of permanence in office. They 
allowed Dudley to serve them only one year as 
Governor. John Haynes, who succeeded 
him, was from the county of Essex in Eng- 
land, where he possessed a large property. He 
had lately come over, in company with John Cot- 
ton. Richard Bellingham, who was made Deputy- 
Governor, had arrived still more recently. He had 
been educated a lawyer, had filled the office of 
Recorder in the English Boston, and was one of 
the twenty-six freemen named in the charter, which 
be was thought to have had a hand in framing. 


The other Magistrates were the same as in the 
preceding year, except that Atherton Hough, who 
had come over with Haynes, and Richard Dummer, 
who had been at Roxbury three years, were chosen 
Assistants, while Endicott and Ludlow were dis- 
missed to private life, the former on account of his 
rash proceeding in relation to the flag, the latter 
because of his having passionately resented the 
promotion of Haynes over him. 

Endicott was punished for his indiscretion by 
being " disabled for one year from having any pub- 
lic office." But the main question that had arisen 
still remained to be disposed of. In the course of 
the year a measure was adopted that seemed to 
shift the responsibility from the Magistrates. " It 
was referred to the military committee to appoint 
colors for every company, who did accordingly, and 
left out the cross in all of them, appointing the 
King's arms to be put into that of Castle Island." 
There the royal colors would be seen by the ship- 
ping, and prevent a damaging report from being 
carried to England. 

A tendency to well-defined and settled institu- 
tions was indicated by several measures adopted 
towards the close of Haynes's administration. The 
General Court empowered the Magistrates jggg 
" from time to time to dispose of the sitting *'"^'' ^' 
down of men in any new plantations," and forbade 
settlements to be made without their consent. The 
number of Greneral Courts was reduced from four 
in each year to two. Local courts of justice were 


instituted, each charged to hold four sessions in 
each year, the places being Boston, Newtown. 
Salem, and Ipswich. A rule was made for pre- 
sentments by a grand jury to precede a prosecu- 
tion. A definition of the powers of towns gave 
the first legislative authority to that municipal 
system of New England which, with such happy 
results, has survived to the present day. The free- 
men of the several towns were empowered " to 
dispose of their own lands and woods," to " choose 
their own particular officers," and to " make such 
orders as might concern the wellbeing of their 
own towns, not repugnant to the laws and orders 
of the General Court." And the right of repre- 
sentation in the central government was roughly 
apportioned to the towns, according to the amount 
of their population. Towns with fewer than ten 
freemen had no right to choose a Deputy ; " those 
that had above ten and under twenty [freemen], 
not above one ; betwixt twenty and forty, not 
above two ; and those that had above forty, three 
if they would, but not above." 

A scarcely less important proceeding of the time 
related to the formation of churches. As no per- 
son could become a freeman without being first a 
church-member, and as admission into a church 
was obtained by the consent of its officers and 
members, a question could not fail to present it- 
self as to safeguards for political integrity at the 
source of political power. Nothing less, it seemed, 
than a prohibition of the forming of any church 


without the approbation of the whole coram unity- 
expressed through its rulers would suffice to se- 
cure an accordance between the sentiments of the 
church-member and freeman and the vital princi- 
ples of the Commonwealth. Accordingly, a law 
w^as made providing that no church should be es- 
tablished without the approbation of the Magis- 
trates and of the majority of existing churches, 
and that no member of any church irregularly 
formed without such authority, should " be ad- 
mitted to the freedom of the Commonwealth." 

In the autumn of the year in which Haynes was 
Governor, three persons of special note ar- jggg 
rived in Massachusetts. John Winthrop ^''*-^- 
the younger had been there before, having come 
over in the year after his father, when he jggj 
was twenty-five or twenty-six years old. ^ov. 2. 
At the time of that visit he had remained more 
than two years, during which he established a 
plantation at Ipswich. 

One of the companions of his present voyage was 
a person destined for a short time to exercise an 
important agency in the affairs of New England, 
and subsequently to act a part scarcely secondary 
to any on a much more conspicuous theatre. This 
was the young Henry Vane. His father, the rep- 
resentative of an ancient line, and himself expe- 
rienced in high public employments in the present 
and the late reign, was at this period a Privy 
Counsellor and one of the Secretaries of State. 
The son, now twenty-three years old, " being a 


young gentleman of excellent parts, had been 
employed by his father, when he was ambassador, 
in foreign affairs ; yet, being called to the obedience 
of the gospel, forsook the honors and preferments 
of the court, to enjoy the ordinances of Christ in 
their purity here. His father being averse to this 
way, (as no way savoring the power of religion,) 
would hardly have consented to bis coming hither, 
but that, acquainting the King with his son's dis- 
position and desire, he commanded him to send 
him hither, and gave him license for three years' 
stay here." 

The third personage in this distinguished trio 
was the minister, Hugh Peter. He had been edu- 
cated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and had sub- 
sequently been lecturer at St. Sepulchre's Church, 
in London, whence he had been driven, by the 
persecution under Laud, to Holland. After six 
years' service as pastor of a church in Rotterdam, 
he was induced, by annoyances from the English 
ambassador, to resolve to join the colony in Massa- 
chusetts, with which he was the better acquainted 
from having been a member of the company be- 
fore leaving England, and a liberal contributor to 
its stock. He was soon inducted into the place 
lately vacated by Williams in the church at Salem. 
He was a man of great talents, and of restless and 
various activity. He saw at once the commercial 
capacities of the country, and set himself to work 
to develop thein. 

At the first election after Vane's arrival, he was 


chosen Governor, with Winthrop for his Deputy. 
It is likely that the resentment of the freemen 
against Cotton's doctrine of a vested estate in the 
high offices were not yet exhausted. It may have 
been believed that Governor Haynes intended to 
leave Massachusetts. And the remarkable per- 
sonal qualities of Vane, set off by his eminent 
social position, required no long time to make 
themselves felt. His accession was greeted with 
unusual pomp. " Because he was son and heir to 
a Privy Counsellor in England, the ships congrat- 
ulated his election with a volley of great shot." 

The King's mutilated flag flapped forthwith in 
the face of the son of the King's Privy Counsellor 
and Secretary of State. A seaman said, " that be- 
cause we had not the King's colors at our fort, we 
were all traitors and rebels." The Magistrates 
caused him to be apprehended and put in jggg 
gaol. He acknowledged his offence, made ^^y^^- 
a submission, and was discharged. The Governor, 
reasonably thinking that this might not be the last 
of it, advised with the ship-masters then in port. 
They said that, as they should be questioned when 
they got home, it would be well for them to be 
able to report that they had seen the national en- 
sign displayed at the Castle. And now a singular 
fact appeared. In an English colony six years 
old, that ensign was not to be found. " It was 
answered, that we had not the King's colors." 
The ship-masters offered to furnish them, and they 
were hoisted accordingly over the fort, but not till 


after anxious consultation, and, as far as Winthrop 
and some other Magistrates were concerned, with 
only a dissatisfied and reluctant consent. 

In palpable disregard of the charter, a new order 
of magistracy was instituted in this year of reforms. 
The last General Court that sat while Haynes 
was Governor resolved that the Court, at its meet- 
ins: two months later, " and so from time to 

March 3. . ° . , , , . , , , , 

time, as occasion should require, should elect 
a certain number of Magistrates, for term of their 
lives, as a Standing Council, not to be removed but 
upon due conviction of crime, insufficiency, or for 
some other weighty cause." The proposed dig- 
nity was now conferred upon Winthrop and 
*^ ' Dudley ; upon Endicott in the following 
year ; and never upon any other person. The plan 
was not pressed ; it acquired no favor with the 
people, and came to nothing. It appears to have 
been at once a revival of Cotton's doctrine of per- 
petuity in office, and a concession to a proposal 
which had been made by Lord Say and Sele to 
introduce an aristocratical element into the gov- 

At the same time, a more plausible scheme was 
defeated as to present execution. "The people 

thought their condition very unsafe, while 

so much power vested in the discretion of Magis- 
trates ; " and the General Court raised a 
* committee " to make a draught of lawy." 
At first sight this seems very wise on the part of 
the people. But Winthrop and his friends in the 


magistracy and ministry were wiser. A formal 
code, with provisions conformed in all respects to 
the convenience and wishes of the people, " would," 
he said, " professedly transgress the limits of our 
charter, which provides we shall make no laws re- 
pugnant to the laws of England ; and that we are 
assured we must do ; but to raise up laws by prac- 
tice and custom had been no transgression ; as, in 
our church discipline and in matters of marriage, 
to make a law that marriages should not be sol- 
emnized by ministers is repugnant to the laws of 
England ; but to bring it a custom by practice for 
the Magistrate to perform it, is by no law made 
repugnant." Those Magistrates and ministers who 
did not favor the scheme of a code of statute laws 
knew how to interpose embarrassments and delays; 
and several years passed before the plan was car- 
ried into effect, though it was never lost sight of, 
and was repeatedly urged by the freemen. 

In view of " the great danger and damage that 
might accrue to the State by all the freemen leav- 
ing their plantations to come to the place of elec- 
tions," a General Court, convened by Vane towards 
the close of his term of office, made it " free and 
lawful for all freemen to send their votes for elec- 
tions by proxy," By the same Court it was 
" ordered that all military men in the jurisdiction 
should be ranked into three regiments," according 
to a division which subsequently became the basis 
of counties. The regiments were respectively to 
elect their field officers, while company officers 

VOL. I. 12 


were to be appointed by the Magistrates, from a 
list of persons nominated by the towns. The 
officers were all to be freemen ; but, in the nom- 
ination for company officers, non - freemen might 

Simultaneously with the foundation of Provi- 
dence by Roger Williams, a more important move- 
ment took place towards the region further to the 
west. In order to follow the course of this trans- 
action, and observe its connection with its impor- 
tant incidents in Massachusetts, it is necessary 
first to retrace our steps. 

The establishment of a factory by the Plymouth 
1633 P^^P^^ ^^ ^^^ Fresh River, or River Con- 
necticut, has been mentioned in a former 
chapter. That river had also been visited by a little 
vessel belonging to Governor Winthrop, and by the 
restless John Oldham, who, with three companions, 
went thither by land. Intelligence which continued 
to be brought of the beauty and fertility of the 
Connecticut valley led many to desire to transfer 
themselves to it from the less productive soil which 
they had occupied in Massachusetts. Especially 
the project was entertained by the inhabitants of 
Dorchester, Roxbury, Newtown, and Watertovvn. 
It was favored at Roxbury by Pynchon, one of the 
Assistants, and at Dorchester by Ludlow, the prin- 
cipal lay citizen. But at the head of the enterprise, 
in the shape which it finally took, were Hooker 
and Stone, ministers of Newtown, and their pa- 
rishioner, John Haynes. 


The reader has some acquaintance with the 
position of Haynes, at home and in the colony, 
Samuel Stone, educated, like so many of our 
founders, at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, had 
been a lecturer in Northamptonshire before his 
flight into America. Thomas Hooker, student 
and Fellow of the same college, bad acquired 
a high reputation in the same employment at 
Chelmsford, in Essex. He had also taught a 
school, in which John Eliot, afterwards the fa- 
mous missionary to the Indians, was his assistant. 
From the threats of the High Commission Court 
he escaped to Rotterdam, where he became Pastor 
of the congregation served by Dr. Ames as Teacher. 
The intention of some of his Essex friends having 
been made known to him, he returned to England, 
and, going on shipboard in disguise, joined them, 
a year after the arrival of their most numerous 
company, at Newtown, where he was pres- jggg 
ently established as their Pastor, Mr. Stone °'^'- ^^• 
being associated with him as Teacher. 

Hooker and Stone and their friends did not like 
Newtown. They were pleased with what they 
heard of the country about the Connecticut. A 
year had not passed, when they avowed their wish 
to remove thither. There were those who imagined 
that a jealousy of Mr. Winthrop on the part of 
Mr. Haynes, and of Mr. Cotton on the part of Mr. 
Hooker, impelled those distinguished persons to 
seek a sphere where their influence would cease to 
be controlled, and their consequence to be eclipsed, 


by rivals earlier possessed of the public confidence. 
Of this there is no proof. But as the emigrants 
to Connecticut did not adopt in their own settle- 
ment that radical feature of the social system of 
Massachusetts which founded the civil franchise 
on church-membership, we may not unnaturally 
suppose that dissatisfaction with it, and apprehen- 
sion of what might follow from it, were among 
their motives for seeking a new home. And it may 
have been, that, in the existing relations between 
Massachusetts and the mother country, Haynes 
and Hooker and their associates were disposed to 
seek whatever security might be afforded by a res- 
idence more remote ; a motive which is known to 
have had a part in prompting the next later emi- 
gration towards the west. 

The Magistrates did all in their power to hinder 
the enterprise. They said that it was forbidden, 
by the obligations under which every settler in 
Massachusetts had come to contribute to the pros- 
perity of that colony ; that Massachusetts was 
" now weak and in danger to be assailed ; " and 
that there was no necessity to go abroad for larger 
accommodation, for there was abundance of un- 
occupied land within her limits. In the General 
Court fifteen out of twenty-five Deputies gave their 
sanction to the undertaking, while of the Magis- 
trates all but the Governor and two Assistants 

The disagreement brought up an important 
question, not immediately to be put to rest, re- 


specting the possession by the Magistrates of an 
effectual negative voice in the government. " Upon 
this grew a great difference," and " the whole Court 
agreed to keep a day of humiliation to seek the 
Lord, which accordingly was done in all the con- 
gregations." On that day Cotton addressed the 
General Court in what was thought a very weighty 
sermon. At all events, its effect was to allay the 
excitement. " Although all were not satisfied about 
the negative voice to be left to the Magistrates, 
yet no man moved aught about it ; and the congre- 
gation of Newtown came and accepted of such 
enlargement as had formerly been offered them by 
Boston and Watertown, and so the fear of their 
removal to Connecticut was removed." 

But the scheme was not abandoned. In the 
summer of the following year, a party from 
Dorchester travelled to the neighborhood of 
the spot where the Plymouth factory had been 
planted, and a few explorers from Watertown es- 
tablished themselves where Wethersfield at length 
grew up. A more important movement was 
made in the autumn, when a party of sixty 
persons, including women and children, 
set off, driving cattle before them, for the infant 
settlements. Another neighboring plantation, of 
independent origin, was begun at the same time. 
John Winthrop the younger, at his recent return 
to New England, had brought a commission from 
Lord Say and Sele, Lord Brooke, and other pat- 
entees of Connecticut, to look after their property. 


He built a fort at the river's mouth, on the spot 
which four years afterwards took the name of Say- 
brook from the names of those two noblemen. 

The Dorchester- and Watertown people who un- 
dertook to winter on Connecticut River suffered 
extreme hardship. The vessels in which they had 
laden household supplies and furniture were de- 
tained by the freezing over of the river. The 
ground was early covered deep with snow. The 
loss of the Dorchester settlement alone, in cattle 
that died for want of shelter and provender, was 
estimated at two thousand pounds sterling. Sev- 
enty persons found their way back to Boston. 

In the following year the people of Newtown 
carried out their long- meditated plan. They sold 
their houses and other immovable property to a 
company which had lately arrived under the lead- 
ership of Mr. Thomas Shepard ; and, to the nura- 
jggg ber of a hundred, of both sexes and all ages, 
June, they set out, early in summer, for their 
new home. Their herd of a hundred and fifty 
cattle, which grazed as they journeyed, supplied 
them with milk. Tents and wagons protected 
them from the rain, and sheltered their sleep. At 
a spot on the right bank of the Connecticut, just 
north of the Dutch stockade, they reached the 
end of their journey. It had occupied a fort- 
night, though the distance was scarcely a hundred 

The two groups of planters above and below 
this spot were reinforced in the course of the sum- 


mer by the emigration of the churches, to which 
they had respectively belonged, of Dorchester and 
Watertown. To the spots selected for their hab- 
itation, the emigrants gave, for the present, the 
names of the towns of Massachusetts from which 
they had come. Before the year expired, these 
names were superseded. Newtown was jgg_ 
called Hartford, after the English birth- ^^''-^i- 
place of Mr. Stone ; Watertown took the name 
of Wethersjield, and Dorchester that of Windsor. 
Mr. William Pynchon and seven other persons 
from Roxbury established themselves upon lem. 
a beautiful site higher up the river, after- '' 
wards called Springfield. 

The local business of the several plantations 
was from the beginning transacted at town meet- 
ings. The general administration of the four 
towns for the first year was in the hands of eight 
Commissioners, who had been appointed by the 
General Court of Massachusetts " to gov- 

O March. 

ern the people of Connecticut for the space 
of a year." This arrangement had been only pro- 
visional, and of course it was found in practice to 
be inconvenient to both parties. The commission 
was not renewed ; and in the second month after 
the expiration of the year to which it had been 
limited, a General Court for Connecticut iggj 
was held at Hartford. In it the aggregate ^'^^" 
community was represented by six persons, five of 
whom had been Commissioners, while nine others 
appeared as " committees," or Deputies, from the 


several towns. The now organized colony re- 
ceived at the same time the welcome accession 
of John Haynes. Its population had come to con- 
sist of about eight hundred persons, including two 
hundred and fifty adult men. 

Connecticut began her history with a dangerous 
war with the most formidable of the native tribes. 
In the same summer in which the emigration of 
the three churches took place, Governor Vane sent 
jggg Endicott, at the head of a party of ninety 
Aug. 24. jjjg,^^ ^Q demand satisfaction from Sassacus, 
chief of the Pequot nation, for the murder of four 
English traders, one of whom was John Oldham. 
It was Endicott's first trust of such a kind, and 
he did not execute it with good judgment. He 
burned some wigwams and canoes, and killed 
and wounded a small number of the Pequots, 
but could get no audience of their chief men. 

The movement, instead of intimidating, did but 
irritate that warlike nation. Sassacus exerted him- 
self to engage the Narragansetts, the hereditary 
enemies of his tribe, in an alliance for extermi- 
nating the English in all the settlements. There 
was great probability that these endeavors would 
succeed ; and, had he been able to conciliate the 
Narragansetts, and to enlist or overawe the Mohe- 
gans, there was no power in the colonists to make 
head against him, and the days of civilized New 
England might have been numbered and finished 
near their beginning. The ancient hostility of the 
Narragansetts to their overbearing rivals prevailed, 


enforced by the diplomacy of Roger Williams, 
who, at the hazard of his life, visited their settle- 
ments to counteract the solicitations with which 
they were addressed. Determined by his influence, 
some of the Narragansett chiefs came to Boston in 
the autumn, and concluded a treaty of peace and 
alliance with the colonists. The furious and for- 
midable Pequots were to fight their battle alone. 

They spared no measures of a nature to spread 
consternation and provoke resentment. In the 
autumn, they caught one Butterfield near the gar- 
rison at the river's mouth, and he was never heard 
of more. A few days after, they took two men out 
of a boat, and murdered them with ingenious bar- 
barity, cutting off first the hands of one of them, 
then his feet. All winter, a marauding party kept 
near the fort, of which they burned the out-build- 
ings and the hay, and kiUed the cattle. Towards 
spring, Gardiner, the commander, went out with 
ten men for some farming work ; they were way- 
laid by the Indians, and three of them were slain. 
Soon after, two men sailing down the river were 
stopped and horribly mutilated and mangled ; their 
bodies were cut in two, lengthwise, and the parts 
hung up by the river's bank. A man who had 
been carried off" from Wethersfield was roasted 
alive. All doubt as to the necessity of vigorous 
action was over, when a band of a hundred Pequots 
attacked that place, killed seven men, a woman, 
and a child, and carried away two girls. They 
had now put to death no less than thirty of the 


The two hundred and fifty men in the Connec- 
ticut towns were surrounded by Indian tribes, who, 
from their hunting grounds between Hudson River 
and Narragansett Bay, could, if united, have fallen 
upon them with a force of at least four or five 
thousand warriors. The Pequots, already engaged 
in open hostility against them, numbered not fewer 
than a thousand fighting men. It was but too 
probable that the friendship of the other tribes 
would not long be proof against the seductions by 
which they continued to be plied. There seemed 
no alternative for the distressed colonists, except 
their own speedy extermination or a sudden exer- 
cise of courage and conduct that should crush the 
assailant. And, if a bold movement should suc- 
ceed, it might be expected to impress a salutary 
lesson ; to break up the dangerous negotiations 
which had been on foot ; to settle for the future 
the relations of the parties ; and to entail a lasting 
enjoyment of security and peace. 

Applications to Massachusetts and Plymouth 
for aid were answered by the promise of an aux- 
iliary force of two hundred men, one fifth of that 
number to be furnished by Plymouth. But no 
time could be spared for these troops to come up. 
Forty-tw^o soldiers were furnished by Hartford, 
thirty by Windsor, and eighteen by Wethersfield, 
and the command was intrusted to Captain John 
Mason, of Windsor, an officer who, after serving 
with credit in the Netherlands under Sir Thomas 
Fairfax, had come to Massachusetts, where, before 


his next remove, he had been a Deputy for Dorches- 
ter in the General Court. For the transportation 
of his English troops, and of seventy friendly In- 
dians, led by the Mohegan, Uncas, Mason had 
three small vessels. At Gardiner's fort he met 
Captain John Underbill, of Massachusetts, who, 
with twenty men, had been despatched to his aid. 
These Mason decided to take with him, sending 
back as many of his own party for the protection 
of the exposed settlements. 

A question which presented itself at the outset 
divided the opinions of his council of officers. His 
orders were express to land at Pequot River, and 
attack the enemy on their western frontier. He 
knew this to be the side from which they were ex- 
pecting the assault, and which they had strength- 
ened accordingly ; and he preferred to approach 
them through the Narragansett country, in their 
rear. His officers shrank from the responsibility 
of disobeying the instructions, and leaving their 
homes so long undefended as the protracting of 
the campaign through several days would require. 
Mason proposed to leave the question undecided 
till, during the next night, the chaplain, Mr. Stone, 
should have sought the Divine direction in prayer. 
It was so arranged, and, early the next morning, 
Mr. Stone reported at headquarters that the Cap- 
tain's plan for the campaign was the correct one, 
— a judgment which was forthwith unanimously 
confirmed by a council of war. 

Accordingly, the little squadron set sail from the 


fort, and arrived the next evening at the place of 
jgg^ its destination, near the western cape of the 
May 20. entrance to Narragansett Bay, at the foot 
of what is now called Tower Hill. The next day 
they kept their Sabbath quietly on shipboard, and 
then came a storm which prevented them from 
disembarking till Tuesday evening. Mason had 
an interview with the sachem of the friendly Nar- 
ragansetts, who engaged to reinforce him with two 
hundred men of his own, and as many of the 
neighboring Nyantic tribe. Here, too. Mason re- 
ceived a message from Providence, informing him 
of the arrival of a Massachusetts party at that 
place, under Captain Patrick, and proposing to 
him to wait till it could come up. But a rapid 
movement was thought to be of more consequence 
than an augmented force. 

On the day following his debarkation. Mason, 
at the head of seventy-seven brave Englishmen, 
(the rest being left in charge of the vessels,) sixty 
frightened Mohegans, and four hundred more ter- 
rified Narragansetts and Nyantics, marched 
*^ ■ twenty miles westward, towards the Pequot 
country, to a fort occupied by some suspected 
neutrals. For fear lest intelligence should be con- 
veyed, this fort was invested for the night. On 
Thursday, after a march of about fifteen miles, to 
a place five miles northwest of the present principal 
village of Stonington, the soldiers encamped, an 
hour after dark, near to a hill, upon which, accord- 
ing to information received from their allies, (who, 


" being possessed with great fear," had nearly all 
fallen behind,) stood the principal stronghold of the 
Pequots. It was evident that no alarm had been 
given, for the sentinels could hear the noisy revel- 
ling within the place, which was kept up till mid- 
night. The savages, who from the heights had 
seen the vessels pass to the eastward along the 
Sound, supposed that the settlers had abandoned 
their hostile intentions in despair. 

Their fort was a nearly circular area of an acre 
or two, enclosed by trunks of trees, twelve feet 
high, or thereabouts, set firmly in the ground so 
closely as to exclude entrance, while the interstices 
served as port-holes for marksmen. Within, ar- 
ranged along two lanes, were some seventy wig- 
wams, covered with matting and thatch. At two 
points, for entrance, spaces were left between the 
timbers, these intervals being protected only by a 
slighter structure, or loose branches. 

At these points, Mason and Underbill were to 
force an entrance, each at the head of half the 
Englishmen, while those of their Indian allies who 
remained (the Nyantics and Narragansetts having 
mostly disappeared) should invest the fort in a 
circle, and arrest the fugitives. Before breaking 
up their camp, the little band took time to join in 
prayer. Two hours before dawn, under a bright 
moonlight, they set off for the fort, two miles dis- 
tant. Mason had come within a few feet of the 
sally-port which he was seeking, when a dog barked, 
and the cry of Owanuxl Owanux ! ''English- 


men ! Englishmen ! " which immediately followed, 
showed that the alarm was given. With sixteen 
men he instantly pushed into the enclosure. Un- 
derhill did the same on the opposite side. The ter- 
rified sleepers rushed out of their wigwams, but 
soon sought refuge in them again from the Eng- 
lish broadswords and fire-arms. Their number was 
too great to be dealt with by such weapons. 
Snatching a live brand from a wigwam, Mason 
threw it on a matted roof; Underbill set fire in his 
quarter with a train of powder ; and the straw vil- 
lage was presently in flames. All was over in an 
hour. The muskets of the English brought down 
those who escaped the conflagration, and most of 
the stragglers who avoided this fate fell into the 
hands of the native allies, who had kept cautiously 
aloof from the conflict, but had no mercy on the 
fugitives. " It is reported by themselves," says 
Underbill, " that there were about four hundred 
souls in this fort, and not above five of them es- 
caped out of our hands." According to other 
accounts, seven hundred perished. Of the Eng- 
lish only two men were killed, but the number of 
wounded was more than a quarter of the force. 

Mason had a narrow escape. An Indian close 
by had taken deliberate aim at him, when Mason's 
orderly made a spring at the savage just in time 
to cut the bowstring. There was another Indian 
fort four or five miles further west, near the path to 
Pequot Harbor, where he had appointed to meet 
his vessels. He did not know the way out of the 


country. His movements were encumbered by his 
wounded, who, with their bearers, amounted to full 
half his force; his scanty supply of ammunition 
and food was spent ; his surgeon had been left be- 
hind at the Narragansett landing; and the heat of 
the weather was overpowering. As the party kept 
on their slow way, they saw approaching more than 
three hundred savages from the other fort, who, in- 
formed of the morning's work, were tearing their 
hair, stamping on the ground, and clamoring for 
revenge. Hiring his allies to carry the wounded. 
Mason managed to keep up the spirits of his ex- 
hausted men, and to hold the assailants at bay 
while he pursued his impeded march. Fifty of his 
Narragansetts, set upon by the Pequots, took to 
flight, and he had to detach Underbill with a party 
for their rescue. At length, as he reached an emi- 
nence, at ten o'clock in the morning, his eyes were 
gladdened by the sight of Pequot Harbor, and of 
his vessels coming to anchor within it. The weary 
conquerors thanked God and took courage, owning, 
in the spirit of the time, the special Providence that 
sent them such relief. Their appearance on the 
heights, " with colors flying," gave the seamen the 
first notice of their approach, their drum having 
been " left at the rendezvous the night before." 

At evening they went to rest on board the ves- 
sels, in which they found the company from Massa- 
chusetts, under Captain Patrick ; it had arrived at 
Point Judith after the departure of the land expe- 
dition, and been taken on board. The first care 


was to despatch the greater part of the force for 
the protection of the towns. Then, sending round 
the wounded by sea, and scouring the intervening 
country with what remained of his command, 
Mason led them by land to the fort, where they 
were " nobly entertained by Lieutenant Gardiner, 
with many great guns," and where they rested 
for their Sabbath. The next week saw the whole 
dispersed to their homes in the three towns. The 
imagination easily pictures the welcome which 
greeted the deliverers. 

The remnant of the doomed nation collected in 
the western fort. After stormy debate on the ques- 
tion whether they should fall upon the Narragan- 
setts or upon the English, or seek safety by flight, 
they resolved oh the last course ; and burning their 
wigwams and their supplies, they set off to join 
the Mohawks, on the Hudson. Giving new prov- 
ocation by putting to death some Englishmen on 
the way, they were pursued by Mason with forty 
men, who were joined by one hundred and twenty 
from Massachusetts, under Stoughton, A party 
of the fugitives, some three hundred in number, 
was overtaken a little west of where now stands 
New Haven, encamped in a spot surrounded by 
quagmires, which rendered it difficult of access. 
The English sent an interpreter, with a proposal, 
which was accepted, for a surrender of the old men, 
women, and children, whom they were " loath to 
destroy." In the foggy morning which followed, 
the warriors made a sally, and seventy broke through 


and escaped. Stragglers of the tribe were put to 
death in considerable numbers by neighboring 
Indians, who all seem to have owed the Pequots 
an ancient grudge. Sassacus was killed by the 
Mohawks, to whom he had fled. The Pequot 
nation became extinct, the survivors being merged, 
under English mediation, in the Narragansett, 
Mohegan, and Nyantic tribes. And from savage 
violence the land had rest forty years. 




The war against the Pequots had been waged 
by the English on the Connecticut at such extreme 
disadvantage, that nothing short of a conviction 
of its necessity can be supposed to have induced 
them to engage in it. The settlements which un- 
dertook to equip and victual a force consisting of 
more than one third of their adult males, were 
themselves not far from starvation. In the summer 
of the principal emigration, the labors of husbandry 
had been interrupted by those of making roads and 
erecting and fortifying habitations. In the autumn 
there were only thirty ploughs in Massachusetts, 
and it is not likely that there was a quarter of that 
number in Connecticut. In the winter which fol- 
lowed, the cattle suffered from insufficiency of food 
and shelter ; and fanning stock, and provisions, 
both meat and grain, bore an enormous price, 
whUe hunting and fishing were made dangerous 
occupations by the near neighborhood of watchful 
savages. Nor did the struggle, successful as it 
had been, fail to bring heavy burdens of its own. 
While so large a proportion of the able-bodied 
men were in the field, production was stinted on 
the one hand, and debt incurred on the other. 


Indian corn was sold for twelve shillings a bushel, 
at the time when a tax of five hundred and fifty 
pounds was levied to pay the expenses of the war, 
and the towns were required to furnish themselves 
with military stores, and the individual citizens to 
keep themselves provided with arms and ammu- 

While the Pequot war was going on, still more 
serious embarrassments of a different description 
were crippling the energy of the settlement on the 
Bay. When Patrick and Stoughton were de- 
spatched to Connecticut, they left the elder colony 
rent by faction, and in imminent danger of civil 

Scarcely were the Massachusetts Magistrates rid 
of Roger Williams, when they found themselves 
engaged again in a much more threatening contest 
than what he had raised, and much more difficult 
for them to conduct, for various reasons, — one of 
which was, that the head of opposition was a ca- 
pable and resolute woman. The name of Mrs. 
Ann Hutchinson is dismally conspicuous in the 
early history of New England. She perhaps well- 
nigh brought it to an end very near to its begin- 

She had come to Massachusetts in the ves- 
sel that brought the copy of the commission 
which empowered the two archbishops and nine 
others of the Privy Council to regulate foreign 
plantations and call in charters, — a coinci- jgg^ 
dence suited to render internal agitations ^p*-^^- 


doubly unwelcome. She had accompanied her 
husband from their home at Alford, near Boston, 
in Lincolnshire, where they had enjoyed a good 
estate. He is described by Winthrop as " a man 
of a very mild temper and weak parts, and wholly 
guided by his wife." She had spirit and talent 
enough for both. In England, she had found no 
satisfactory ministrations of religion but those of 
John Cotton, and of John Wheelwright, her broth- 
er-in-law; and her unwillingness to lose the benefit 
of Cotton's preaching induced her to emigrate. 
In Boston she soon recommended herself widely 
as a kind and serviceable neighbor, especially to 
persons of her own sex in times of sickness ; and 
by these qualities, united with her energy of char- 
acter and vivacity of mind, she acquired esteem 
and influence. 

The first mention of her by Winthrop is in these 
words : " One Mrs. Hutchinson, a member of the 
church of Boston, a woman of a ready wit and 
bold spirit, brought over with her two dangerous 
errors : first, that the person of the Holy Ghost 
dwells in a justified person ; second, that no sancti- 
fication can help to evidence to us our justification. 
From these errors grew many branches ; as first, 
our union with the Holy Ghost, so as a Christian 
remains dead to every spiritual action, and haih 
no gifts nor graces, other than such as are in hypo- 
crites, nor any other sanctification but the Holy 
Ghost himself." 

Mrs. Hutchinson attached importance to her 


doctrines and expositions, sufficient to lead her to 
undertake a sort of public ministration of them. 
It had been the practice of the male members of 
the Boston church to hold meetings by themselves, 
for recapitulating and discussing the sermons of 
their ministers. Mrs. Hutchinson instituted similar 
assemblies for her own sex, which, at one time, 
were held twice a week. In the want of social 
meetings of other sorts, it is not matter of surprise 
that they were attended by nearly a hundred fe- 
males, some of whom were among the principal 
matrons of the town. Her bold criticisms were 
set off by a voluble eloquence, and an imposing 
familiarity with Scripture. She bestowed unqual- 
ified approbation upon Cotton and Wheelwright, 
whom she declared to be " under a covenant of 
grace." Of the other ministers of the colony she 
spoke more and more distrustfully and slightingly, 
till by -and -by she came to pronounce them in 
downright terms to be " under a covenant of 

When the strife broke out in public action, Mrs. 
Hutchinson had secured the championship of no 
less a personage than Vane, the young Governor 
of Massachusetts, besides that of Dummer and 
Coddington, eminent among the Magistrates, and 
of other influential persons. The country towns 
and churches proved to be, on the whole, strongly 
opposed to her, while all the members of the Bos- 
ton church were her partisans except five. Of 
these five, however, were Wilson, the Pastor, and 


Winthrop, lately advanced again so far as to the 
second place in the government. Old friends were 
estranged, and offensive language was freely used. 
Mrs. Hutchinson went out of church as the hith- 
erto venerated Wilson rose to speak, and others 
followed her example of affront in the presence of 
other preachers. 

" The other ministers in the Bay came 

163Q to Boston at the time of a General Court, 
^*'^" and entered conference with them, to the 
end they might know the certainty of these things, 
and, if need were, they might write to the church 
of Boston about them, to prevent, if it were pos- 
sible, the dangers which seemed hereby to hang 
over that and the rest of the churches." For the 
present, Cotton gave them satisfaction. Wheel- 
wright was not so explicit. A proposal was made 
in the Boston church to associate him in office 
with its Pastor and Teacher. Winthrop, acting 
with the concurrence of Wilson, whom the deli- 
cacy of his position compelled to reserve, with 
difficulty succeeded in parrying this blow. But 
the transaction did not fail to leave heart-burnings. 
Wheelwright was presently invited to a church 
gathered at Mount WoUaston. 

These annoyances, together with that of the im- 
pending Indian war, and perhaps others of a more 
personal nature, disturbed the mind of the young 
and inexperienced Governor. He had scarcely 
finished half his term of service when he 
*^ ® " called a Court of Deputies, to the end he 


might have free leave of the country," having re- 
ceived " letters from his friends in England, which 
necessarily required his presence there." In answer 
to the dissuasive considerations which were urged, 
" the Governor brake forth into tears, and professed, 
that, howsoever the causes propounded for his de- 
parture were such as did concern the utter ruin of 
his outward estate, yet he would rather have haz- 
arded all than have gone from them at this time, if 
something else had not pressed him more ; namely, 
the inevitable danger of God's judgments to come 
upon us for these differences and dissensions which 
he saw amongst us, and the scandalous imputations 
brought upon himself, as if he should be the cause 
of all, and therefore he thought it best for him to 
give place for a time, etc." This explanation did 
but cause more earnest remonstrances; and though 
they were withdrawn, and the Court finally con- 
sented to his departure, further expostulations on 
the part of the Boston church, to which he " ex- 
pressed himself to be an obedient child," finally 
turned him from his design. 

" The differences in the said points of religion 

increased more and more ; every occasion 

increased the contention, and caused great aliena- 
tion of minds ; and it began to be as com- 
mon to distinguish between men by being under a 
covenant of grace or a covenant of works, as in 
other countries between Protestants and Papists." 
The Court found or believed it necessEiry to take 
up the matter in earnest. The ministers, being 


consulted, gave their advice, "that, in all such here- 
sies or errors of any church-members as are man- 
ifest and dangerous to the State, the Court may 
proceed without tarrying for the Church." A per- 
1637. son of some consequence, " Stephen Green- 
March9. gp^j^j^^ f^j. affirming that all the ministers, 
except Mr. Cotton, Mr. Wheelwright, and, he 
thought, Mr. Hooker, did teach a covenant of 
works, was for a time committed to the marshal, 
and after enjoined to make acknowledgment to 
the satisfaction of every congregation, and was 
fined forty pounds." A more serious matter pre- 
sented itself " when Mr. Wheelwright was to be 
questioned for a sermon which seemed to tend to 
sedition." Wheelwright, " preaching at the last 
fast, inveighed against all that walked in a cove- 
nant of works, as he described it to be, namely, such 
as maintain sanctification as an evidence of justifi- 
cation, etc., and called them Antichrists, and stirred 
up the people against them with much bitterness 
and vehemency. For this he was called into the 
Court, and, his sermon being produced, he justified 
it So, after much debate, the Court ad- 
judged him guilty of sedition, and also of con- 
tempt, for that the Court had appointed the fast 
as a means of reconciliation of the differences, etc., 
and he had purposely set himself to kindle and 
increase them." 

The Governor, joined by a few other members 
of the Court, offered a protest against this proceed- 
ing ; but the Court refused to receive it. The Bos- 


ton church also petitioned in Wheelwright's behalf. 
The Court deferred his sentence. Contumacious 
Boston was thought to be not a suitable place for 
its meetings under present circumstances, and a 
motion was made that it should next assemble at 
Newtown. The Governor refused to take the vote. 
The Deputy- Govern or excused himself from doing 
it, on account of the delicacy of his position as a 
Boston man. Endicott took the office upon him- 
self, and the measure was carried. 

Had the calm and able Winthrop been at the 
head of the government during these transactions, 
they might have had a different issue. As it was, 
they caused the need of his restoration to be felt. 
At the next Court, the exasperation was at its 
height. One who considers well the elements that 
were in conflict may not unreasonably believe that 
the fate of New England was tremblins: in the bal- 

ance. " So soon as the Court was set, a 

petition was preferred by those of Boston." 
Vane would have read it at once. Win- 
throp interposed, and insisted that it was out of 
order till after the transaction of the first business 
of the annual Court, the election of Magistrates. 
On Winthrop's motion, it was decided by a large 
majority to proceed first to the election ; but the 
Governor still refused ; " whereupon the Deputy 
told him, that, if he would not go to election, he 
and the rest of that side would proceed." They 
did so ; and the result was, that the old order of 
things was restored. Winthrop was chosen Gov- 


enior, and Dudley Deputy - Governor ; Endicott 
was joined to them as one of the Magistrates for 
life ; " Mr. Israel Stoughton and Mr, Richard 
Saltonstall [son of Winthrop's ancient colleague] 
were called in to be Assistants ; and Mr. Vane, 
Mr. Coddington, and Mr. Dumraer, being all of 
that faction, were quite left out. There was great 
danger of a tumult that day, for those of that side 
grew into fierce speeches, and some laid hands on 
others ; but seeing themselves too weak, they grew 
quiet." In the height of the fray, Wilson climbed 
a tree and made a speech, the meeting being held 
in the open air, on Newtown Common. 

At the election the next day, Boston returned 
Vane and Coddington, with Hough, formerly an 
Assistant, as its Deputies. In the proceedings 
there had been a trifling informality, of which the 
Court availed itself to refuse them seats ; but, on a 
reelection the following day, " the Court not find- 
ing how they might reject them, they were ad- 
mitted." Winthrop ran the gantlet of daily slights 
from his neighbors. When he went back to Bos- 
ton, no escort met him, as had been usual. The 
four Boston sergeants, who had been accustomed 
to attend the Governor to and from public worship, 
" laid down their halberds and went home." " The 
country, taking notice of this, offered to send in 
some from the neighboring towns, to carry the hal- 
berds by course ; and, upon that, the town of Bos- 
ton offered to send some men, but not the sergeants ; 
but the Governor chose rather to make use of two 
of his own servants." 


Vane did not bear his defeat with the dignity 
which his riper character displayed. Before he was 
Governor, he had been used to sit at public wor- 
ship in the Magistrates' seat, — a distinction yielded 
to his distinguished birth ; he now left it, with 
Coddington, and repelled the Governor's invitation 
to return. The son and heir of the Earl of Marl- 
borough, a boy in his teens, having come to Bos- 
ton " to see the country," the Governor, 

•" . ' June 26. 

whose guest he had declined to be during 
his stay, invited Vane, with others, to meet him at 
dinner. Vane " not only refused to come, alleg- 
ing by letter that his conscience withheld him, but 
also at the same hour he went over to Noddle's 
Island to dine with Mr. Maverick, and carried the 
Lord Leigh with him." 

His only further conspicuous agency in the pend- 
ing difficulties related to an order of that Court by 
which he had been displaced, to the effect of ex- 
cluding, till the next annual Court, " all such per- 
sons as might be dangerous to the commonwealth, 
by imposing a penalty upon all such as should retain 
any, etc., above three weeks, which should not be 
allowed by some of the Magistrates." The obvi- 
ous purpose of the measure was to prevent the 
increase of the defeated party by recruits from 
abroad. It was an Alien Law. Winthrop circu- 
lated a defence of it, to which Vane replied, and 
the controversy terminated with a rejoinder from 
the former. Before the end of the summer, 
in company with his young friend, Vane ^' 


left the country forever, to pass on to higher and 
harsher fortunes. At parting, his adherents made 
an ambitious display of their respect and regrets. 
" Those of Mr. Vane's party were gathered to- 
gether, and did accompany him to the boat, and 
many to the ship ; and the men, being in their 
arms, gave him divers volleys of shot, and five 
pieces of ordnance, and he had five more at the 
Castle ; the Governor was not come from the 
Court, but had left order with the captain for their 
honorable dismission." Abandoned by their great 
patron, the faction henceforward acted at disad- 

The Court had again deferred the sentence of 
Wheelwright, in the hope that so " their modera- 
tion and desire of reconciliation might appear to 
all." Often things seemed strongly tending to an 
amicable settlement. " Divers writings were pub- 
lished." The Magistrates issued a defence of their 
course against Wheelwright, and his friends replied. 
" Mr. Wheelwright also himself set forth a small 
tractate," and the ministers retorted, "confuting 
the same by many strong arguments." But Cot- 
ton " replied to their answer very largely, and 
stated the differences in a very narrow scantling ; 
and Mr. Shepard, preaching at the day of elec- 
tion, brought them yet nearer, so as, except men 

of good understanding, few could see 

where the difference was." Matters seemed in so 
good a train that it was hoped a satisfactory ac- 
commodation would be effected in a synod, which 


had been summoned by the ministers, " with con- 
sent of the Magistrates." 

It met in Mr. Shepard's church, at Newtown. 
" There were all the teaching elders through 
the country, and some men come out of 
England, not yet called to any place here, as Mr. 
Davenport." The Magistrates had seats. The 
moderators were Hooker, of Hartford, and Bulkely, 
of Concord, from whose recent ordination Cotton 
had absented himself, conceiving him to be one of 
the " legal preachers." The discussions, which on 
the whole appear to have been conducted with 
much moderation, continued through three weeks. 
Eighty-two opinions, each represented to have had 
some unnamed advocate, were with great una- 
nimity condemned as erroneous, even Cotton giv- 
ing his scarcely qualified consent to the decree. 
Prominent among them, of course, were the pecu- 
liar tenets of "Wheelwright and Mrs. Hutchinson. 
Some practical questions of church discipline, bear- 
ing upon the recent proceedings, were " next de- 
bated and resolved." 

More than a year had now passed since the strife 
began, and three months since Vane returned to 
England. There had been great provocation and 
excitement; but, down to this time, John Green- 
smith, fined for slander, was the only one of the 
disturbers who had been punished in any way. 
" There was great hope that the late general assem- 
bly would have some good effect in pacifying the 
troubles and dissensions about matters of religion ; 


but it fell out otherwise." Whether it was, that, 
with or without authority from Vane, it was hoped 
on the one side and feared on the other that he 
would assert in England those doctrines of alle- 
giance which in America he had urged in contro- 
versy with Winthrop, or from some other cause, 
the dispute was revived with such acrimony, 
that the General Court, " finding upon con- 
sulfation that two so opposite parties could 
not contain in the same body without apparent 
hazard of ruin to the whole, agreed to send away 
some of the principal." 

The petition, presented nine months before by 
members of the Boston church in favor of Wheel- 
wright, was considered as showing the necessity of 
this measure, in the new ferment which was pre- 
vailing. It referred, in ambiguous terms of appro- 
bation, which the Court construed as of seditious 
intent, to the conduct of Peter in drawing his 
sword, and to that of the Israelites in rescuing 
Jonathan from Saul. William Aspinwall, a signer 
of the petition, (and its author, though this was not 
known till afterwards,) was now a Deputy from 
Boston ; he was sentenced first to dismission from 
the Court, and then to disfranchisement and expul- 
sion from the territory. John Coggeshall, another 
Deputy, who declared in Court his approbation of 
the petition, though he had not signed it, escaped 
with dismission and disfranchisement. Wheel- 
wright, " refusing to leave either the place or his 
public exercisings," was also disfranchised, and was 


banished. He aggravated his offence by an ap- 
peal to the King; but " the Court told him that an 
appeal did not lie, for, by the King's grant, we had 
power to hear and determine without any reserva- 
tion." He was allowed to withdraw to his house, 
under an engagement to surrender himself to a 
Magistrate at the end of a fortnight, unless he 
should previously retire from the jurisdiction. It 
was probably before the expiration of this time that 
he went, with a few adherents, to the Piscataqua 
River, as will be related by-and-by. 
• Mrs. Hutchinson was next sent for, and was 
charged, among other things, with railing at the 
ministers, and with continuing her semi-weekly 
public lectures, in defiance of determinations of 
the recent synod. In her defence, she laid claim 
to prophetical inspiration, and declared that among 
its communications " this was one : that she had 
it revealed to her, that she should come into New 
England and should here be persecuted, and that 
God would ruin us and our posterity and the 
whole state for the same." Her trial lasted two 
days. Two reports of it survive. They contain 
evidence that her judges did not escape the con- 
tagion of her ill-temper. When some of the min- 
isters were to give their testimony, she demanded 
that they should be sworn. It was done, but not 
till after objection and delay. She may have meant 
the claim as an affront ; but that was not to be 
assumed ; and, even if known, it did not bar her 
of her right, which, for every reason of policy and 


dignity, as well as of justice, should have been 
promptly allowed. " So the Cotirt proceeded, and 
banished her ; but, because it was winter, they 
committed her to a private house, where she was 
well provided, and her own friends and the elders 
permitted to go to her, but none else." 

When the Court met again, after an adjourn- 
ment for a few days, it did not find the 
Nov. 15. . . •; ' 

agitation at an end, though more than a 

quarter part of the signers of the petition in Wheel- 
wright's behalf had recanted and apologized. John 
Underbill, the captain in the Pequot war, besides 
being cashiered, was now disfranchised, with six 
or seven other subscribers to the obnoxious paper. 
The rest, with " some others, who had been chief 
stirrers in these contentions," received an order to 
surrender their arms, which, " when they saw no 
remedy, they obeyed." For further security, " the 
powder and arms of the country, which had been 
kept at Boston, were carried to Roxbury and .''few- 
town." The number of persons disarmed was 
seventy-six. " Two of the sergeants of L'oston 

were disfranchised and fined : V/illiam 

Balston, twenty pounds ; Edward Hut/.hinson, 
forty pounds." Coddington, and ten ot'icrs, hav- 
ing " desired and obtained license to remove them- 
selves and their families out of the jurisdiction," 
were ordered to carry their professed wish into ef- 
fect within seven weeks, or else " to appear at the 
next Court to abide the further order of the Court." 
The " private house " to which Mrs. Hutchinson 


had been committed for the winter was that of 
Joseph Welde, of Roxbury, Deputy in the General 
Court, and brother of the minister. Her conver- 
sations there with the elders occasioned such of- 
fence, that, at their instance, she was cited to an- 
swer to a charge of " gross errors " before the 
church of Boston, so lately her devoted partisans. 
One of the errors which were specified, namely, 
that the soul is not naturally immortal, she was 
prevailed upon, after a long discussion, to retract 
and condemn ; but, as she persisted in the others, 
the church "agreed she should be admonished." 
The vote to that effect would have been unani- 
mous but for the dissent of her two sons, who, for 
their contumacy, " were admonished also." The 
meeting was opened about noon, after the jggg 
weekly Thursday lecture, which had taken *^"«^i- 
place an hour earlier than usual. It " continued 
till eight at night, and all did acknowledge the 
special presence of God's Spirit therein." Several 
of her friends, however, were absent, on the search 
for another home. 

This was simply an ecclesiastical proceeding. On 
the part of the government there was still a desire 
to be lenient, and at all events to avoid pro- 

I • i- 1 rr March 22 

vokmg a reaction by unnecessary oiience ; 
and Mrs. Hutchinson was "licensed by the Court, 
in regard she had given hope of her repentance, to 
be at Mr. Cotton's house [in Boston], that both he 
and Mr. Davenport might have the more opportu- 
nity to deal with her." The result was, that " she 

VOL. I. 14 


made a retractation of near all" the obnoxious 
opinions imputed to her, and " declared that it was 
just with God to leave her to herself as he had 
done, for her slighting his ordinances, both magis- 
tracy and ministry." But she marred all by insist- 
ing that the doctrines attributed to her were partly 
such as she had never maintained. This raised a 
question of veracity, which was decided against 
her ; and " the church, with one consent, cast her 
out," or excommunicated her, for having "impu- 
dently persisted " in untruth. Cotton acquiesced 
in the verdict. Her unhappy deportment on this 
occasion dissipated what was left of her party. 
" Many poor souls who had been seduced by her, 
by what they heard and saw that day, were, through 
the grace of God, brought off quite from her errors, 
and settled again in the truth." " The sentence 
was denounced by the Pastor [Wilson], matters of 
manners belonging properly to his place." Cotton, 
it is likely, would be naturally averse to that ser- 
vice, from his past relations to the convict. The 
approach of spring having brought the time for 
carrying into effect the order of the Court, " after 
tu'^o or three days the Governor sent a warrant to 
Mrs. Hutchinson to depart this jurisdiction before 
the last of the month ; " which she did ac- 
cordingly, visiting " her farm at the Mount " 
(Braintree) on her way. 



On the defeat of the Antinomian party, a por- 
tion of its members, expelled from Massachusetts 
or voluntarily departing, dispersed in different di- 
rections, to the north and the south. Several went 
to Williams's settlement at Providence, where, not 
changing their mind with their climate, they took 
part in disturbances to be recorded hereafter. A 
more considerable number established themselves 
at a lower point on Narragansett Bay. 

Before the final action of the government, 
William Hutchinson, William Coddington, John 
Clarke, and others, apparently satisfied that, if 
they should have their choice, it would be best 
for thera to remove, had been looking out for a 
suitable habitation. Roger Williams proposed to 
thera the beautiful island of Aquetnet in Narragan- 
sett Bay. There nineteen persons, the founders of 
a new colony, met, associated themselves less. 
in a body politic, and chose Coddington to^*"**'' 
be their "Judge," and Aspinwall to be Secretary. 
With Williams's mediation, they bought 

•' ° March 24. 

the island from the chiefs Canonicus and 
Miantonomo for the consideration of " forty fathom 


of white b»;ads." Adopting the rule which they 

had thought so oppressive in Massachusetts, 

they limited the privileges of residence to 

" such as should be received in by the consent of 

the body." 

Mrs. Hutchinson's propensity to faction was not 
exhausted nor left behind when she sought a new 
home. Before a year had passed, she had got 
Coddington removed from his office, and her weak 
husband put in his place. Tumults accompanied 
and followed this petty revolution. At Portsmouth, 
jggg as they presently called their town, the vic- 
Apriiso. torious party proceeded to organize them- 
selves under a new civil compact. Coddington 
and his friends withdrew, and, betaking themselves 
to the magnificent harbor at the southern end of 
the island, besran a new settlement there, 

May 16. ' ° ' 

to which they gave the name of Newport. 
During the summer they had an accession of num- 
bers, including forty or fifty adult males. But the 
separation continued only a short time. Before 
jg^(j the expiration of another year, a union was 
March 12. effected between the towns ; and it w^as 
agreed between them to be jointly ruled by a Gov- 
ernor, Deputy-Governor, and four Assistants, to be 
chosen annually, the Governor and two Assistants 
from one town, and the Deputy- Govern or and two 
Assistants from the other. Coddington was elected 
to be Governor for a year, and William Hutchin- 
son to be one of the Assistants. It was probably 
the last time that Hutchinson ever held office. 


Williams said that Hutchinson's wife persuaded 
him to withdraw, " upon the opinion which newly 
she had taken up, of the unlawfulness of magis- 
tracy." He lived but a year or two longer ; and his 
widow removed, with some of her children, to a spot 
within or near the border of New^ Netherland, 
where, after a few months, the Indians, in jg^g 
a quarrel with the Dutch, murdered her and ^^*" 
her family, " to the number," says Cotton Mather, 
" of about sixteen persons." 

From year to year Coddington was chosen Gov- 
ernor, and Brenton Deputy-Governor, of the settle- 
ments on Aquetnet Island. At first, two 
General Courts were ordered to be holden Aig. 6. 
annually, alternating, as to place, between Newport 
and Portsmouth. After two years' trial, one jg^g. 
General Court in each year was thought ^*"='*- 
sufficient. The state of things in England now 
suggested the hope of obtaining Transatlantic 
protection for the infant settlement: and 

. . Sept. 19. 

the General Court raised a committee "to 
consult about the procuration of a patent for this 
island and islands and the land adjacent, and to 
draw up petition or petitions, and to send letter or 
letters for the same end to Sir Henry Vane." 

The planters at Providence conceived a similar 
design. They too felt strongly the desirableness of 
a recognition in England, on account alike of their 
want of some title to their lands besides what they 
derived from the natives, of their dissensions with 
one another, and of their isolation from the more 


flourishing colonies around them. The character 
of Roger Williams, as well as his personal rela- 
tions to Henry Vane, recommended him for em- 
ployment in the service proposed ; and he embarked 
for England, sailing from New Amsterdam, be- 
cause still under the sentence of banishment from 

When the Hutchinsons and Coddington sought a 
refuge on Aquetnet Island, their friend Mr. Wheel- 
wright, on leaving Boston, went in a different di- 
rection. With thirty-five companions, he made a 
settlement on a river called the Swamscot, tributary 
to the Piscataqua, and gave to it the name of 
Exeter. The party established a church and 

Oct. 4. a body politic, committing the enactment 
of laws to meetings of the whole body, and their 
administration to a Governor and two Assistants, 
to be chosen annually. Of the persons concerned 
in the recent disturbances at Boston, no portion 
proved afterwards more quiet and orderly than this. 
But its independent organization lasted only three 

Seaward from the settlement of Wheelwright's 
friends lay an extensive tract of salt marsh. Hither 

jiggg Mrs. Hutchinson's adherent Nicholas Eas- 

^*y ^^- ton first bent his steps from Boston ; but, 

being presently warned away, he went to join his 

friends on Rhode Island. Here, the next year, Mas- 

jggg sachusetts laid out her township of Hamp- 

May 22. ^^^^ the fourth settlement within the territory 

of what is now the State of New Hampshire, and 


the last for more than half a century. Its fifty or 
sixty inhabitants, recognizing their relation to Mas- 
sachusetts, established no other than a municipal 

Others yet of the dispersed party of Mrs. Hutch- 
inson betook themselves to Cochecho, on the Pis- 
cataqua. The settlement in this place has been 
mentioned as one of the most ancient in New 
England. When it had languished seven or eight 
years, the Hiltons sold their right in it to 
some merchants of Bristol. Thomas Wig- 
gin, who came over as agent of the new owners, 
found only three houses on the spot. Returning 
to England, Wiggin learned that the patent had 
been again sold to Lord Say and Sele, Lord 
Brooke, and two other partners. Engaging in 
their service, he brought with him to Cochecho a 
company of about thirty persons from the 
west of England, a part of whom are said oc'- 1^- 
to have been of " some account for religion." 

Mr. William Leverich came with them as their 
minister. They did not furnish him a living, and 
after a year or two he went away. Two 
years later, George Burdet came to Cochecho 
from Salem, where he had been preaching to the 
good satisfaction of the people. He turned out at 
last to be a spy of Laud. At Cochecho, he im- 
mediately became an agitator both in civil and in 
church affairs. Addressing himself to the anti- 
Puritan interest, he prevailed on a majority of 
the planters, first to receive him as their minister, 


and then to make hinn their ruler, after deposing 

While Burdet was in the enjoyment of this two- 
fold dignity at Cochecho, John Underhill came to 
seek a retreat there. By the help, probably, of 
some Antinomian auxiliaries whom he had brought 

jggg with him, Underhill was chosen to be Gov- 
October. gj-nor of Cochecho in the place of Burdet, 
who, relieved thus from public station, and more- 
over detected in some debaucheries, withdrew to 

Hansard Knollys, formerly in England a minister 
of the established Church, came to Cochecho about 
the same time as Underhill, and succeeded Burdet 
in the sacred office, as Underhill did in the civil. 
A friendship between them was cemented by a 
sympathy of hatred to Massachusetts, " There 

1639. "^^^ ^^^^ *° ^^^ Governor [Winthrop] the 

*'"'^' copy of a letter written into England by 
Mr. Hansard Knollys, of Piscataquack, wherein 
he had most falsely slandered this government, as 
that it was worse than the High Commission, etc., 
and that there was nothing but oppression, etc., 
and not so much as a face of religion." Knollys, 
informed of his detection, asked leave to come to 
Boston, and there, " upon a lecture-day, made a 

jg^ very free and full confession of his offence, 

Feb. 20. y;^\l[^ much aggravation against himself, so 

as that the assembly were well satisfied." They 

were not so well satisfied with Underhill, who lay 

under the same charge. He too came to Boston, 


and in the presence of the church, of which he was 
still a member, acknowledged himself to be guilty 
of adultery and other miscarriages. The church, 
believing his confession and distrusting his 

.1 , 1 ■ i «» 11 March 5. 

remorse, " presently cast hiin out," and he 
returned to Cochecho, humiliated and incensed. 

In this mood, he set himself to defeat a nego- 
tiation which had been on foot for annexing that 
settlement to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. 
But, finding that, among his volatile neighbors, the 
tide was nowrunning strong against him, he changed 
his mind again, and, obtaining leave to go to Bos- 
ton, secured a better reception there than before. 
" Upon the lecture-day, after sermon," he made a 
full avowal of his offences, and thereupon 
was relieved by the church from his excom- ^ " 
munication, and by the General Court from his 
sentence of banishment. 

Returning to his home, he found that the party 
opposed to annexation to Massachusetts 
had been growing stronger, and had been 
concerting a plan for a municipal independence, 
to be maintained till such time as they should re- 
ceive instructions from the King. Their champion 
was one Thomas Larkham, an English clergyman, 
who had just come among them with a new contri- 
bution to their elements of quarrel. The renewed 
strife between Churchman and Antinomian was 
not merely a war of words. " Mr. KnoUys 
and his party excommunicated Mr. Lark- May. 
ham, and he again laid violent hands upon Mr. 


Knollys." Larkham's party undertook to arrest 
Underbill, who, on his part, " gathered some of the 
neighbors to defend himself, and to see the peace 
kept ; so they marched forth towards Mr. Lark- 
ham's, one carrying a Bible upon a staff', for an 
ensign, and Mr. Knollys with them, armed with 
a pistol." Seeing that they were likely to be 
worsted, Larkham's party sent for help to " Mr. 
Williams, who was Governor of those in the lower 
part of the river [Strawberry Bank, Portsmouth.]" 
He came up with a company of armed men, and 
seized Underbill, who was convicted of a riot, and 
ordered, with some of his partisans, to quit tbe 

Williams's own settlement was in no thriving 
way. David Thompson, who, under the 
auspices of John Mason, the patentee, had, 
eighteen years before this time, attempted a plan- 
tation at the mouth of the Piscataqua, soon be- 
came discouraged, and removed to an island in 
Boston harbor, thenceforward called by his name. 
Seven years later. Mason and his partners 
sent out some fifty men to be employed in 
fishing, trade, salt-making, and farming, under the 
superintendence of Captain Walter Neal. He re- 
mained but about three years, and then 
Mason reinforced the settlement with a new 
supply of men and money, and gave it in charge 
to Francis Williams. Mason died after two 
years more, bequeathing his American prop- 
erty to his grandsons, John and Robert Tufton. 


Tn the bands of an agent, sent over by his widow 
and executrix, it ran down. Supplies ceased on the 
one hand, and remittances on the other. Some set- 
tlers went away, and such as remained came to 
look upon the houses and lands which they occu- 
pied as their own property, and ceased to pay rent. 
From the utter disorder into which the plantation 
fell, it recovered only through some voluntary com- 
bination of the inhabitants, the tenor and date of 
which are alike unknown. 

Experiences of this kind taught the Piscataqua 
settlements that they were not in a condition to go 
on comfortably by themselves; the claim of Mas- 
sachusetts to jurisdiction as far north as to the 
sources of the Merrimack was always hanging over 
their heads ; the state of affairs in England pre- 
cluded the expectation of any present attention 
from that quarter ; and the communities were too 
dissimilar from each other, as well as singly too 
feeble and heterogeneous, to find sufficient strength 
in a union together. The natural and prudent re- 
source was to seek the protection of Massachusetts. 
After a year's negotiation, Strawberry Bank ig4i 
and Cochecho (now called Dover) placed '^"°®^*- 
themselves under the government of that colony, 
with careful reservations of the rights of the Eng- 
lish patentees to their property in the soil. Two 
Deputies were allowed to be sent " from the whole 
river to the Court at Boston;" and in all respects 
the persons now admitted were to have the privi- 
'eges of settlers in Massachusetts. The freemen 


and Deputies (the settlers at Strawberry Bank, and 
jg43 many at Dover, not being of the Puritan 
May 10. persuasion) were exennpted from the obliga- 
tion of being church-members, Massachusetts hav- 
ing now become strong enough to admit of this 
deviation from her fundamental policy. Exeter 
before long followed the example of accession; and 
Wheelwright, still jealous of the power of Massa- 
chusetts, besides being yet under her sentence of 
banishment, withdrew himself to the territory of 
Gorges. The three towns — with Hampton, which 
had been planted by avowed subjects of Massa- 
chusetts, and with the neighboring settlements of 
Salisbury and Haverhill, on the northern bank 
of the Merrimack — were made to constitute one 
of the four counties into which Massachusetts was 
now divided. And for forty years this relation of 
the New Hampshire towns continued, greatly to 
their satisfaction and advantage. 

The country east of the Piscataqua was still 
almost without English inhabitants. There was 
probably now no English post eastward of the 
Plymouth trading - house on the Kennebec, ex- 
cept that at Pemaquid, though some fishermen 
may have been collected on Muscongus Bay. In 
settling the country between the Kennebec and 
the Piscataqua, which was claimed by Sir Ferdi- 
nando Gorges, scarcely greater progress had been 
made. Sir Ferdinando sent to the Magistrates of 
jgg^ Massachusetts a commission for the gov- 
june. ernment of his province ; but they gave 


it no attention, being in doubt of bis author- 
ity. Then he appointed his son, Thomas jg^ 
Gorges, to be Deputy-Governor of his do- ^^^'^^ ^°- 
nnain, with six persons, residents on the spot, for 
Counsellors. The Counsellors, who were sever- 
ally to fill the offices of Secretary, Chancellor, 
Field- Marshal, Treasurer, Admiral, and Master of 
Ordnance, were jointly to constitute a Supreme 
Court of Judicature, to meet every month, and to 
be served by a Registrar, and a Provost- Marshal. 
The province was to be divided into counties or 
bailiwicks, hundreds, and tithings. To form a 
legislature, eight Deputies, " to be elected by the 
freeholders of the several counties," were to be as- 
sociated with the Counsellors. Each county was 
to have its court, consisting of a lieutenant and 
eight justices, to be appointed by the council. The 
Deputy-Governor, arriving soon after, found the 
official residence at Agaraenticus scarcely suffi- 
cient to give him shelter, and " nothing of the 
household stuff remaining but an old pot, a pair 
of tongs, and a couple of cobirons." George Bur- 
det, formerly the mischief-maker at Dover, now a 
person of consequence in the capital of Maine, was 
arrested by Gorges, under a charge of adultery, 
and other offences. The demagogue, convicted and 
fined, set sail for England, with threats of ven- 
geance, which, on his arrival there, he saw the futil- 
ity of attempting to execute. 

The province was divided into two counties, of 
one of which Agamenticus, or York, was the prin- 


cipal settlement; of the other, Saco. The annual 

General Courts were appointed to be held at the 

latter place, while the former was distinguished both 

by being the residence of the Deputy-Governor, and 

1641 '^y *^^ d'a"i^y of incorporation as a borough, 

April 10. mjjjgy the hand of the Lord Proprietary 

himself. The greatness of Agamenticus made it 

arrogant ; and it sent a deputation of alder- 

June25. , , , V>. , ^ 

men and burgesses to the General Court at 
Saco, to save its metropolitan rights by a solemn 
1642. protest. The Proprietary was its friend, and 
March3. ^gfore loug cxaltcd it still more by a city 
charter, authorizing it and its suburbs, constituting 
a territory of twenty-one square miles, to be gov- 
erned, under the name of Gor^eann, by a Mayor, 
twelve Aldermen, a Common Council of twenty- 
five members, and a Recorder, all to be annually 
chosen by the citizens. Probably as many as two 
thirds of the adult males were in places of authority. 
The forms of proceeding in the Recorder's Court 
were to be copied from those of the British Chan- 
cery. This grave foolery was acted more than ten 

Meanwhile, reasons similar to those which satis- 
fied the groups of planters about the Piscataqua 
had influenced a party of settlers on the remote 
eastern border of the patent of Gorges; and Thomas 
Purchas and his company, who had sat down on 
the convenient spot called by the natives Pejepscot 
1639. (now Brunswick), sought the protection, 
July 22. g^jjjj ^^ ^ formal instrument submitted them- 


selves to the jurisdiction, of the Governor and Com- 
pany of Massachusetts Bay. Wheelwright, on 
leaving Exeter to escape from that government, 
betook himself, with some adherents, to a tract of 
land adjoining to Agamenticus, which he had jg^g 
bought of Gorges, and gave it the name of ^^'^^'^ 
Wells. Before he had been there long, he had the 
wisdom to see the folly of the conduct which had 
made him an exile ; and he wrote to Governor 
Winthrop, avowing that he had been misled by 
his " own distempered passions." He was answered 
with respect and courtesy, and his sentence of ban- 
ishment was revoked, " without his appearance." 
He continued, however, in his new settlement a 
short time, till it seemed to be thriving, and then 
returned to the neighborhood of his former resi- 
dence, and lived seven years at Hampton. Next 
he sailed for England, where, like other ministers 
from Ma!~sachusetts, he enjoyed the special regard 
of Cromwell. After the restoration of the mon- 
archy, he returned to New England, and ended his 
days at Salisbury, having lived to be the oldest 
minit^ter in the colonies. 

The patent of Gorges conflicted with another 
grant of the Council for New England, called the 
Li/gonia, or Plough patent, which gave to John 
Dy and others a territory, forty miles square, in- 
cluding the lower part of the River Saco, and ex- 
tending northeasterly along the coast, nearly to 
Casco Bay. After the breaking out of the jg^ 
Great Rebellion in England, this patent was ^^"^ ^' 


purchased from the holders by Alexander Rigby, 
a patriot member of Parliament, who sent out 
George Cleaves to look after his property. Pro- 
jg^ ceeding to organize a government upon the 
place, Cleaves was interrupted by a remon- 
strance from Richard Vines, who had been left at 
the head of Gorges's government, on the recent 
departure of the Deputy - Governor for England. 
Vines put a messenger from Cleaves in prison, 
and both potentates came to Boston, to represent 
their case to the Magistrates of Massachusetts. 
Neither got anything more than advice to keep 
quiet till further instructions should arrive from 
England. It would not have been prudent, by the 
rejection of this counsel, to tempt the inhabitants 
of the Bay to interpose to keep the peace between 
them; they were not strong enough, or near enough, 
to threaten each other with serious harm ; and here 
their controversies ended for the present. The loyal 
and hearty proprietor of Maine was now involved 
in his king's affairs ; and when, if not before, he 
died, as he did soon after being taken prisoner by 
the Parliamentary forces at Bristol, his Transat- 
lantic possessions fell to the management of bands 
less diligent and less able. 



We pass to the opposite extremity of New Eng- 
land, where, simultaneously with the settlement at 
Aquetnet, another community was erected, of a 
different character from any of those which were 
mentioned in the last chapter. Theophilus Eaton 
has already been named as a member and Assist- 
ant of the Massachusetts Company. The son of 
a clergyman at Stony Stratford in Buckingham- 
shire, he had risen to opulence in London, and had 
attracted the notice of the government, by which 
he was sent in a diplomatic capacity to Denmark. 
He was a parishioner of John Davenport, minister 
of St. Stephen's Church, in Coleman Street, Lon- 
don. Davenport, son of a mayor of Coventry, in 
Warwickshire, was an Oxford graduate, and a 
clergyman of so much eminence as to have at- 
tracted the special notice of Laud, who 1634. 
mentions him in a letter to the King. Driven 
by the proceedings of that prelate to resign his 
cure, he was for some time preacher to an English 
congregation at Amsterdam. By John Cotton, 
with whom he had kept up a correspondence, he 
was induced to turn his thoughts towards America ; 
and at Davenport's instance — at all events in his 

VOL. I. 15 


company — Eaton came to New England, arriv- 
1637. ^"g there, with a number of friends " in 
June 26. ^^^ ghlps," at the height of the troubles of 
the Antinomian controversy and the Pequot war. 

The habits of thought of this fraternity led them 
to carry out to its last results the idea which had 
fascinated so many thinking persons at that period, 
of finding in Scripture a special rule for everything 
of the nature of civil as well as of ecclesiastical 
order and administration ; and, for the experiment, 
they desired a more unoccupied field than was 
to be found at that late hour in Massachusetts. 
Having taken some months for inquiry and delib- 
eration, they in early spring set forth by water to 
16S8. Quinnipiack, — an inviting site, on a com- 
Marchso. „,odious harbor of Long Island Sound, 
thirty miles west of the mouth of Connecticut 
River. The company included two ministers 
besides Davenport; namely, Samuel Eaton and 
Peter Prudden. 

Their voyage occupied a fortnight. Under the 

shelter of an oak, they kept their first Sabbath, 

listeninsr to a sermon from Davenport on 

April 15. ° ^ 

the leading up of Jesus into the wilderness 
to be tempted. A few days later, " after fasting 
and prayer," they formed their political association 
by what they called a " plantation covenant," " to 
distinguish it from a church covenant, which could 
not at that time be made, a church not being then 
gathered." In this compact they resolved, " that, 
as in matters that concern the gathering of a 


church, so likewise in all public offices which 
concern civil order, as choice of magistrates and 
officers, making and repealing of laws, dividing 
allotments of inheritance, and all things of like 
nature," they would "be ordered by the rules which 
the Scriptures hold forth." This constitution had 
no external sanction, and comprehended no ac- 
knowledgment of the government of England. 
The company consisted mostly of Londoners, who 
at home had been engaged in trade. In propor- 
tion to their number?;, they were the richest of all 
the plantations. Like the settlors on Narragansett 
Bay, they had no other title to their lands ^^^ ^^ 
than that which they obtained by purchase J^«ii- 
from the Indians. 

Before proceeding further, the settlers at Quin- 
nipiack gave themselves a year to learn from ex- 
perience the arrangements suitable to a social 
organization for persons so circumstanced. Then 
" all the free planters " met in a barn, " to jggg 
consult about settling civil government •'"°**- 
according to God." Mr. Davenport prayed and 
preached from the text, " Wisdom hath builded 
her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars;" 
demonstrating the propriety of designating seven 
competent men to construct the government which 
was contemplated. By a unanimous vote his hear- 
ers determined that " the Scriptures do hold forth 
a perfect rule for the direction and government of 
all men in all duties which they are to perform 
to God and men." After the plan approved in 


Massachusetts, they resolved that " church-membera 
only should be free burgesses," with power to legis- 
late and to elect magistrates. And they designated 
twelve men, who were " to choose out of themselves 
seven, that should be most approved of the major 
part, to begin the church." The votes were sub- 
scribed, on the day of their adoption, by sixty-three 
persons, and soon after by about fifty more. 

After due time for reflection, the twelve electors 
chose the " seven pillars," and after another pause, 
the pillars proceeded to their office of 
constituting the body of church-members. 
Next, at a meeting held by them as a "court," all 
former trusts were pronounced vacated and null; 
their associates in the church, nine in num- 
ber, were recognized as freemen ; and Eaton, 
elected by the sixteen as " Magistrate " for a year, 
and four other persons chosen with him to be 
" Deputies," were addressed by Mr. Davenport in 
what was called a charge. A " public notary," or 
Secretary, was also appointed, and a " marshall," 
or Sheriff. The " Freeman's Charge," which stood 
in the place of an oath, pledged no allegiance to 
the King, or to any other authority than " the civil 
government here established." The little State 
of Quinnipiack was as yet independent of all the 

It was resolved that there should be an annual 
General Court, or meeting of the whole body, in 
the month of October; and "that the word of 
God should be the only rule to be attended unto 


in ordering the affairs of government." By the 
authority thus constituted, orders were immedi- 
ately made for the building of a meeting-house, 
for the distribution of house-lots and pasturage, 
for precautions against attacks from the savages, 
and for regulation of the prices of commodities and 
of labor. And the general course of administration 
proceeded thenceforward in the same manner as 
in the earlier well-organized plantations. In iq^ 
its second year, the town took the name of ^p*-^ 
New Haven. 

The Englishmen at Quinnipiack had not fully 
arranged their own social system before they began 
to swarm; and others, of similar sentiments and 
objects, came presently to seek homes in their 
neighborhood. Among the new-comers were the 
Reverend Henry Whitefield ; William Leet, des- 
tined to act a distinguished part in the colony; 
and Samuel Desborough, brother of Cromwell's 
general of that name. A company of two hundred 
persons, some of them from Quinnipiack, some 
from Wethersfield, were led by the Reverend Mr. 
Prudden to a harbor on Long Island Sound, near 
the mouth of the Housatonic, which they jggg 
bought of the Indians, and, after a year's '^"^' ^ 
occupation, called by the name of Mifford. An- 
other party, fresh from England, under the conduct 
of Mr. Whitefield, went somewhat further in the 
opposite direction, and established themselves, also 
on the shore of Lonff Island Sound, at a 

, , Sept. 29. 

place named by them Guilford, after the 

230 NF.W HAVEN. 

English town from which several of them had come. 
Leet, then a young man, and Desborough, were of 
this company. 

The founders of both Milford and Guilford, 
taking for their model the proceedings at the re- 
cent settlement, erected their Ciiurch and State on 
a foundation of " seven pillars." Departing from 
the method of organization which had been pur- 
sued in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, 
the settlement at New Haven, and those which 
had made it their model, at first maintained a com- 
plete independence of each other. They preferred 
what has been called, in Greek history, the system 
of autonomy. Perhaps the incentive to this scheme 
was an idea of extending to civil institutions the 
Separatist theory of an absolute independence of 
churches. Very soon, however, this scheme was 
partially abandoned, when, under the auspices of the 
1640 govennnent at New Haven, a company from 
October. No,.foii- )„ England founded the town of 
Southhold near the eastern end of Long Island ; 
a party who had taken offence at Wethersfield sat 
down, under the protection of New Haven, 


at Stamford ; and a similar movement, as 
yet with little result, was made towards Greenwich, 
close to the New - Netherland frontier. Nor was it 
;ong before the whole plan of this independence on 
a small scale was given up as unreasonable and 
inconvenient. When Guilford had enjoyed its iso- 
lated sovereignty four years, it saw the wis- 
dom of connecting itself with New Haven 


and the settlements already in " combination " 
with that town ; and what was thenceforward called 
the "jurisdiction" of New Haven was thus formed. 
Three months later, Milford too annexed itself, and 
the Colony of New Haven was fully constituted. 

Eaton was chosen Governor of the newly organ- 
ized community, with Stephen Goodyeare, also 
of New Haven, for Deputy - Governor, and four 
other Assistant Magistrates, one a freeman of New 
Haven, two of Milford, and one of Stamford. A 
system of judicial administration was constituted. 
Each plantation was to choose for itself " ordinary 
judges," to hear and determine "all inferior causes." 
From the " Plantation Courts" was to lie an appeal 
to the " Court of Magistrates," (consisting of the 
Governor, Deputy- Governor, and Assistants,) who 
were also to have original jurisdiction in " weighty 
and capital cases, whether civil or criminal;" and 
from the latter tribunal appeals and complaints 
might be made, and brought to the General Court 
as the highest for the jurisdiction. In the determi- 
nation of appeals, " with whatsoever else should fall 
within their cognizance or judicature," the Courts 
were to " proceed according to the Scriptures, which 
is the rule of all righteous laws and sentences." 

A list, taken in the same year, of " the planters" 
in the town of New Haven, exhibits the names of 
a hundred and thirty-two persons, including eight 
women. A reckoning of their family dependents 
swelled the number to four hundred and sixteen ; 
but it is known that some of these never came to 


America. The aggregate property of the planters 
was rated at thirty-six thousand three hundred and 
thirty-seven pounds sterling. 

When the Pequot war had been concluded, the 
jggg business first demanding the attention of the 
Feb. 9. Qeneral Court of the towns on Connecticut 
River was to defray the expenses that had been 
incurred, to make arrangements for future security 
against the Indians, and to purchase from them sup- 
plies of food till the new fields should become pro- 
ductive. These first cares disposed of, the planters 
1639. °^ Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield met 
Jan. 14. ^Q constitute a "public state or common- 
wealth " by voluntary combination, and to settle 
its plan of government. The instrument framed 
by them has been called " the first example in his- 
tory of a written constitution, — a distinct organic 
law, constituting a government and defining its 
powers." It provided that all persons should pos- 
sess the franchise who should be admitted to it by 
the freemen of the towns, and take an oath of alle- 
giance to the commonwealth ; that there should 
be two meetings of freemen in a year, at one of 
which, to be holden in April, they should elect a 
Governor, and not fewer than six other Magis- 
trates ; that, at the same times, there should be 
meetings of Deputies, four to be sent from each of 
the existing towns, and as many as the General 
Court should determine from towns subsequently 
constituted ; and that the General Court, con- 
sisting of the Governor and at least four Magis- 


trates, and a majority of the Deputies, should 
have power to make laws for the whole jurisdic- 
tion, " to grant levies, to admit freemen, dispose 
of lands undisposed of to several towns or persons, 
to call either Court or Magistrate or any other 
person whatsoever into question for any misde- 
meanor," and to deal in any other matter that con- 
cerned the good of the commonwealth, except elec- 
tion of Magistrates, " v/hich was to be done by the 
whole body of freemen." The Governor was not 
reeligible till a year after the expiration of his term 
of office. In the absence of special laws, " the 
rule of the word of God " was to be followed. 
Neither the oaths of officers nor of freemen prom- 
ised any allegiance except to " the jurisdiction." 
The whole constitution was that of an independent 
State. It continued in force, with very little altera- 
tion, a hundred and eighty years, securing, through- 
out that period, a degree of social order and happi- 
ness such as is rarely the fruit of civil institutions. 

At the first election, Haynes, formerly Governor 
of Massachusetts, was chosen Governor. The ad- 
ministration proceeded in substantially the same 
manner as in the earlier government? of Massa- 
chusetts and Plymouth, except that in Connecticut 
the Court of Magistrates confined itself more to 
judicial business. In the first year a general law 
was passed, of an elaborate character, for 
the incorporation of towns, on the model of 
those in Massachusetts, each with a government 
for municipal affairs, of " three, five, or seven of 


their chief inhabitants," chosen annually by them- 
selves. A public registry was established in each 
town for conveyances of real estate, with the pro- 
vision, that " all bargains or mortgages of land 
whatsoever should be accounted of no value until 
they were recorded." 

Connecticut had, in the course of the year, in- 
terposed itself by two new plantations between 
New Haven and the Dutch. Mr. Ludlow, with 
eight or ten families from Windsor, began a settle- 
ment at an inviting spot called by the Indians 
Uficoa, and by the English Fairfield, at the head 
of a small inlet from Long Island Sound. They 
were joined by a party from Watertown, in Mas- 
sachusetts, and before long by another from Con- 
cord ; and after some questions, in w^hich Mr. Lud- 
1640. low did not escape censure, their Deputies 
June 11. ^gj.g admitted to the General Court of Con- 
necticut. ■ East of Fairfield, between it and the 
Housatonic, and near the mouth of that river, a 
number of persons — several recently arrived from 
England, several from Boston and other parts of 
Massachusetts, and a few from the Connecticut 
towns — collected on an expanse of meadow-land, 
known then by the names of Cupheage and Pequan- 
nock, and since by that of Stratford. The General 
Court recognized them by setting out their 
bounds and providing for the administra- 
tion of justice within them. They had bought their 
lands of the Indians, and pretended no other title. 

The post at the mouth of the Connecticut, which 


Gardiner had commanded in the Pequot war, had 
as yet, and for four or five years longer, no political 
connection with the upper towns. It was nothing 
but a fort, occupied by some twenty men, and sur- 
rounded by a few buildings and a little cultivated 
land, till George Fenwick, " and his lady jggg 
and family, arrived to make a plantation." •'"'^• 
Fenwick, " a worthy, pious gentleman, and of a 
good family and estate," had been a barrister of 
Gray's Inn. His wife was a daughter of Sir Ed- 
w^ard Apsley. He was interested in the Connect- 
icut patent, and to explore its territory had made 
a short visit to this country three years before. 
He now came as agent for the patentees, and, fix- 
ing on the site at the river's mouth as his residence, 
gave it the name of Saybrook, in honor of the two 
noblemen who were the most distinguished mem- 
bers of the company which he represented. 

The connection of Pynchon's settlement with the 
lower towns was of brief duration, and had not 
been well defined even while it lasted. There had 
been disagreements with him from the first, and 
Massachusetts had always held that his plantation 
lay within her territory, as described by the charter. 
At length, on a petition of Pynchon and his com- 
pany to the General Court at Boston, Springfield 
(as it was now called, instead of Ag-awam, the 
Indian name which it had hitherto borne,) jg^j 
was recognized as falling within the juris- *'"'^® ^■ 
diction of Massachusetts ; and commissioners were 
appointed "to lay out the soath line " of that 


colony, to be joined by such as Connecticut might 
designate for the purpose. 

After three years this loss to Connecticut was 
more than made up by two additions. A com- 
pany consisting of " about forty families," from 
Lynn, in Massachusetts, "finding themselves strait- 
ened," had bouo^ht land of the Indians, on 


the south side of Long Island, near its 
eastern end, and there begun a plantation which 
they called Southampton. For a while they formed 
an independent community ; but learning from ex- 
perience the disadvantages of this condition, they 
entered into an agreement to " associate and join 
themselves to the jurisdiction of Connecticut;" 
1641 and their Deputies were admitted to the 
Oct. 25. Qeneral Court of that Colony. A more 
important accession was that of the settlement at 
Saybrook. On condition of receiving the avails, 
for ten years, of certain duties to be collected from 
all vessels passing out of the river, and of certain 
taxes on the domestic trade in beaver and live 
stock, Fenwick conveyed the fort, with its arma- 
ment and "appurtenances," and the " land upon 
the river," " except such as was already private 
property," to the "jurisdiction of Connect- 
^' ' icut." He further covenanted to obtain 
for that jurisdiction the property of " all the lands 
from Narragansett River to the fort of Saybrook, 
mentioned in a patent granted by the Earl of War- 
wick to certain nobles and gentlemen, if 

it came into his power." 


The perplexities of the colony of Plymouth, con- 
sequent upon its connection with the English part- 
ners, were still far from being unravelled. Among 
the objects of Edward Winslow's visit to ^^g^ 
England, one was the defence of the char- 
tered rights of Massachusetts before the Privy 
Council, and another the final adjustment of the 
mercantile affairs of Plymouth. One of his first 
measures after arriving incurred the disapprobation 
of the far-sighted Governor of Massachusetts. In 
a petition to the Lords Commissioners for Foreign 
Plantations, in which were set forth the ambitious 
designs of the French and Dutch, he prayed the 
Commissioners, " on the behalf of the plantations 
in New England," to " either procure their peace 
with those foreign States, or else to give special 
warrant unto the English to fight and defend them- 
selves against all foreign enemies ; " — a step, says 
Winthrop, " undertaken by ill advice, for such pre- 
cedents might endanger our liberty, that we should 
do nothing but by commission out of England." 

Winslow flattered himself prematurely that his 
business was' prospering. At the time of his arri- 
val, the appointment of a General Governor was 
seriously meditated. When, in a hearing before 
the Council, he had successfully parried the charges 
made by Morton under the instigation of Gorges 
and Mason, the archbishop, taking him to task for 
officiating in religious ministrations, and for marry- 
ing in his capacity of Magistrate, browbeat the 
Commissioners into ordering his committal to the 


Fleet prison, where he lay four months. When 
the business with Shirley, Beauchamp, and An- 
drews, the London partners, was resumed, it was 
under some disadvantage from this delay. The 
Plymouth people believed that they had already 
made remittances of merchandise more than suf- 
ficient to discharge their obligations. But they 
had reposed a degree of confidence, such as in 
transactions between the most upright men does 
not tend to the highest ultimate satisfaction ; 
barter accounts had gone on unstated from year 
to year; questions arose upon mutually conflict- 
ing claims of the English associates ; and the 
complicated embaiTassments became distressing to 
persons who could not consent to fall short of their 
engagements, but who could not afford to go much 
beyond them. Repeatedly, after seeming to them- 
selves to have already done more than discharge 
their debts, they were moved by some new com- 
plaint to send to England all the later accumula- 
tions of their hard labor. 

But, notwithstanding such discouragements, pros- 
perity could not fail at last to come in the train of 
industry and intelligence such as were exercised 
at Plymouth. The large emigration to Massachu- 
setts created a profitable market. " It pleased 
God, in these times, so to bless the country with 
such access and confluence of people into it, as it 
was thereby much enriched, and cattle of all kinds 
stood at a high rate for divers years together." A 
cow was sold for twenty pounds, sometimes even 


as high as twenty-eight pounds ; a goat for three 
or four pounds; and corn for six shillings a 
bushel ; " by which means the ancient planters 
which had any stock began to grow in their estates 

so as other trading began to be neglected." 

The commerce with the Indians on the Kennebec, 
which had been likely to be abandoned, was farmed 
by the colony to a new company, for the rent of a 
sixth part of the profits, " with the first fruits of 
which they built a house for a prison." This was 
one sign of the permanency of the settlement, which 
hitherto had been matter of uncertainty. When 
the Dorchester planters came to the Con- 
necticut, their Plymouth rivals complained 
of being deprived " of that which they had with 
charge and hazard provided, and intended to re- 
move to, as soon as they could and were able." 
Three years later, it was remarked of " a jggg. 
great and fearful earthquake," which was •'""®^- 
felt at Plymouth and the other settlements, that 
' it fell out at the same time divers of the chief of 
this town were met together at one house, confer- 
ring with some of their friends that were upon 
their removal from the place, as if the Lord would 
hereby show the signs of his displeasure in their 
shaking apieces and removals one from another." 

One reason of their unsettled state was the con- 
tinued ill-success of their endeavors to obtain a 
minister who should in some measure supply to 
them the place of their venerated Robinson. Smith 
was soon seen to be a man of mean abilities ; and 


after six or seven years' patient endurance of him 
by the colony, he " laid down his place of 

1636. . . , ^ 

ministry, partly by his own willingness, as 
thinking it too heavy a burden, and partly at the 
desire and persuasion of others." To assist him, 

Winslow had brought over from England 

1635. " 

Mr. John Norton, " who was well liked of 
them, and much desired by them." But he re- 
mained at Plymouth only through a winter, and 
then departed, to enter on a conspicuous career in 
Massachusetts. On Smith's retirement, "it pleased 
the Lord to send them," in Mr. Rayner, " an able 
and godly man, and of a meek and humble spirit, 
sound in the truth, and every way unreprovable 
in his life and conversation ; " but not, it ap- 
pears, of commanding abilities or character. Two 
1638 y^^rs after Norton's departure, Mr. Charles 

Chauncy, " a reverend, godly, and very 
learned man," as he afterwards fully proved himself, 
was brought to Rayner's aid. He soon announced 
himself to be a believer in the doctrine of baptism 
by immersion. Indisposed to have any variance 
with him on that account, the congregation offered 
to respect his conscience, if he would but tolerate 
theirs, and to allow the rite to be performed by the 
two ministers in whichever way they and the sub- 
jects of it should prefer. " But he said he could not 
yield thereunto ;" and, after unsuccessful attempts 
at accommodation, he withdrew from his relation 
to the Plymouth church, at the end of nearly three 


For almost sixteen years from the beginning of 
the old colony, the scanty record which remains 
of the public administration exhibits it as princi- 
pally occjipied with police and military regula- 
tions, and rules and orders for the division of lands 
and the settlement of estates. In the sixteenth 
year, a committee was raised, consisting of 
four freemen of Plymouth, two of Scituate, 
and two of Duxbury, to aid the Governor and 
Assistants in codifying the laws, of which " divers 
were found worthy the reforming, others the reject- 
ing, and others fit to be instituted and made." 
Under a system of general jurisprudence 
such as suited the simple wants of the 
colony, the report of the committee included a re- 
visal of the constitution of government. It pro- 
vided that annual elections of a Governor, seven 
Assistants, a Treasurer, a Coroner, a Clerk, Con- 
stables, and other inferior officers, should be made 
by the freemen on the first Tuesday of March ; 
and it defined the very narrow powers of those 
functionaries, reserving to the body of freemen the 
chief share of both legislation and administration. 
The oaths prescribed to be taken by freemen and 
residents, as well as by officers, — unlike those in 
use in Massachusetts and in the western settle- 
ments, — comprehended an engagement of loyalty 
to the King ; and the Courts were ordered to be 
held in his name. Laws and ordinances were to 
be made only by the freemen, who were cautioned 
to be just in laying taxes upon others, 

TOI.. 1. 16 


The same policy by which in Massachusetts the 
holders of the soil selected their associates, was 
adopted in a supplementary rule, " that no person 
or persons thereafter should be permitted to live 
and inhabit within the government of New Plym- 
outh without the leave and liking of the Governor, 
or two of the Assistants, at least." The frame 

1638 ^^ government was before long completed 
by the creation of a second class of legisla- 
tors. On a " complaint that the freemen were 
put to many inconveniences and great expenses by 
their continual attendance at the Courts," it was 
" enacted by the Court, for the ease of the several 
colonies and towns within the government, that 
every town should make choice of two of their 
freemen, and the town of Plymouth of four, to be 
Committees or Deputies to join with the bench to 
enact and make all such laws and ordinances as 
should be judged to be good and wholesome for 
the whole." Laws might, however, be enacted or 
repealed by the whole body of freemen, convened 
in their Courts of Election. The Deputies, who 
were to be freemen, were to be paid by their 
towns; and tax- paying "masters of families," 
though not freemen, were to have a vote in their 
election. Deputies found to be " insufficient or 
troublesome " might be " dismissed " by their asso- 
ciates and the Assistants, in which case their town 
should " choose other freemen in their place." At a 

1639 General Court in the next year. Deputies ap- 
june 4. peared from seven towns, na mely, Plymouth, 

BOUKDARffiS. 243 

Du?c'>ary, Scituate, Sandwich, Cohannet (Taun- 
ton), Yarmouth, and Barnstable. In the same year 
" Us.samequin [Massasoit] and Mooanam, his son, 
came into the Court in their own proper 
persons," and, at their request, " the ancient 
league and confederacy, formerly made," and now 
enlarged by some further stipulations, was " re- 
newed, and ordered to stand and remain invio- 

The first patent of Plymouth had defined no 
boundaries. The second never took effect, ig2i. 
having been surrendered by Pierce in the ^®^' 
sequel of a dispute with the Associates. The 
gratit in the third furnished the rule for ^^^ 
determining the line between the jurisdic- Jiiieis. 
lions of Massachusetts and Plymouth. If the 
patents conflicted in the descriptions of the terri- 
tory conveyed, the claim of Massachusetts was 
best, as being prior in time ; but it was main- 
tained by Plymouth that the other colony gave an 
unjustifiable interpretation to the name Charles 
River, in holding it to extend as far south as the 
most southerly of its tributaries. The Plymouth 
planters had assigned, partly to their London asso- 
ciates, and partly to actual settlers, certain lands 
at a place called Scituate, contiguous to the Mas- 
sachusetts town of Hingham, but understood by 
the Plymouth people to lie within their own north- 
eastern border. A dispute which ensued between 
the neighbors was taken up by their respective 
governments. Commissioners, two on each side, 


met, and came to an agreement, which proved mu- 
tually satisfactory for the present, though, 
under a change of circumstances, it was 
revised at a later time. 

The patent from the Council for New England, 
under which the lands continued to be held, was 
a grant to " William Bradford, his heirs, associates, 
and assigns." The freemen, being now dispersed 
through seven towns in addition to Plymouth, 
desired legal possession of the common property; 
and Bradford executed an instrument, by which, 
after certain reservations for the " Purchasers or 

1641. O^^ Comers," he surrendered " into the 
March -2. jj^^j^jg ^f ^jjg wholc Court, cousistiug of the 
freemen of the corporation of New Plymouth, all 
that other right and title, power, authority, privi- 
leges, immunities, and freedoms, granted in the 
said letters patents by the said right honorable 
Council for New England." 

The vexatious business with the English part- 
ners was brought to a partial settlement by their 
consent to give a full discharge on the receipt of 
twelve hundred pounds. One of them, Andrews, 
" a haberdasher in London, a godly man," pre- 
sented five hundred pounds, his share of the pro- 
ceeds, to the Massachusetts colony, " to be laid 
out in cattle, and other course of trade, for the 
poor." The eight men of Plymouth, having made 
a scrupulously high valuation, on oath, of the 
effects in their hands, had not only been great 
losers, but considered themselves to have been 


hardly treated. And the case turned out still 
worse than their fears, when, in consequence of 
the arrest of emigration, occasioned by the altered 
state of affairs in the parent country, the value of 
their salable property was excessively depressed. 
The price of a cow fell in a month from twenty 
pounds to five, and of a goat from three pounds to 
ten shillings ; and the prospect was so dark, that 
thoughts of removal were again entertained, which 
probably nothing short of a local attachment, ma- 
tured under the severest experiences, could have 

And the strength of this sentiment was tried at 
the critical moment by an event, which, if suited 
to weaken it in one class of minds, would be likely 
to give it double force in another. " Their 1543 
reverend elder," writes Bradford, " and my ^p"^^- 
dear and loving friend, Mr. William Brewster," 
died; " a man that had done and suffered much for 
the Lord Jesus and the gospel's sake, and had done 
his part in weal and woe with this poor persecuted 
church, above thirty-six years, in England, Hol- 
land, and in this wilderness, and done the Lord 
and them faithful service in his place and calling. 
And, notwithstanding the many troubles he passed 
through, the Lord upheld him to a great age. He 
was near fourscore years of age, if not all out, 
when he died. He had this blessing added by the 
Lord to all the rest, to die in his bed in peace, 
amongst the midst of his friends, who mourned 
and wept over hira, and ministered what help and 


comfort they could unto him, and he again recom- 
forted them whilst he could. His sickness was not 
long, and till the last day thereof he did not wholly 
keep his bed. His speech continued till somewhat 
more than half a day, and then failed him ; and 
about nine or ten o'clock that evening he died 
without any pangs at all. A few hours before, 
he drew his breath short, and some few minutes 
before his last he drew his breath long, as a man 
fallen into a sound sleep, without any pangs or 
gaspings ; and so sweetly departed this life unto a 



In Massachusetts, the thoughts of the freemen 
had not been engrossed by the pressing distractions 
of the troubled times through which they were 
passing. They still had attention to bestow on 
the wants of posterity ; and no men better under- 
stood what were the essential conditions of the 
permanent well-being of a commonwealth. The 
seventh year since the transportation of the ^^33 
charter had just begun, when " the Court ^'^'' ^' 
agreed to give four hundred pounds towards a 
school or college, whereof two hundred pounds to 
be paid the next year, and two hundred pounds 
when the work is finished, and the next Court to 
appoint where and what building." That Massa- 
chusetts assembly over which Henry Vane pre- 
sided has been said to be "the first body in which 
the people, by their representatives, ever gave their 
own money to found a place of education." Their 
college preceded the next oldest in British America 
(the College of William and Mary in Virginia) 
by more than fifty years. Provision had hardly 
been made for the first wants of life, — habitations, 
food, clothing, and churches. Walls, roads, and 
bridges were yet to be built The power of Eng- 


land stood in attitude to strike. A desperate 
war with the natives had already begun, and the 
government was threatened with an Antinomian 
insurrection. Through and beyond these dark 
complications of the present, the New England 
founders looked to great necessities of future times, 
which could not be provided for too soon. 

The appropriation was equivalent to the colony 
tax for a year. Regarded in that point of view, a 
million of dollars would at the present day inad- 
163.7. equately represent it. Newtown was fixed 
Nov. 15. ypQjj fQy ^{jg gj^e q£ ^jjg college, and a com- 
mittee of seven Magistrates and six ministers, men 
of the first distinction in their respective 
classes, were directed " to take order" for it. 
The generous project engaged the sympathy of 
John Harvard, a graduate of Emmanuel College, 
jgg, Cambridge, who, dying childless within a 
Sept. 14. yggj, af^gj. [jig arrival at Charlestown, be- 
queathed his library and " the half of his estate, 
which amounted to about seven hundred pounds, 
jggg for the erecting of the college." In just 
March 13. gratitude, the Court ordered it to be called 
by his name. Newtown had just before received 
the name of Cambridge. 

When the Indian war was over, and the movers 

of sedition had been quelled, everything within 

Massachusetts began to wear the aspect of a new 

prosperity. The vigor of the rulers had in England 

inspired confidence, and no fewer than three 

thousand settlers came over in three months. 


The government was indulgent as soon as it was 
safe ; and the arms which had been taken from 
nearly a hundred excited persons were re- ^^^ 
stored to as many of them as remained in ^°^-^ 
the colony "carrying themselves peaceably." 

For the present, few occasions arose for any ex- 
traordinary legislation. A public registration of 
births, marriages, and deaths was estab- 

Sept. 9. 

lished, as well as that excellent system of 
registration of deeds and of testamentary instru- 
ments, which has rendered the conveyance of 
property in New England so simple and so safe. 
A rule was made for the publication of 
intentions of marriage. A post-office for 
foreign correspondence was set up. " That abom- 
inable practice of drinking healths " was forbidden, 
under a penalty of twelve pence for each offence, 
as being " a mere useless ceremony," and " also an 
occasion of much waste of the good creatures, and 
of many other sins." Prohibitions, addressed to 
both possessor and purveyor, were aimed against 
" the excessive wearing of lace and other super- 
fluities, tending to little use or benefit, but to the 
nourishing of pride and exhausting of men's es- 
tates, and also of evil example to others." 

Since the restoration of Winthrop to the chief 
magistracy from the inferior place into which the 
democratic spasm had cast him, he had continued 
to be aided by his former counsellors. In each of 
these three years Dudley held the second office ; 
and all of the former Assistants who remained in 


the colony, except Duramer, retained their position 
in the government. 

But the public confidence in Winthrop, so well 
merited and generally so constant, did not blind 
the electors to the danger of the precedent that 
might grow out of a too long continuance in office 
of one favorite public servant; and his second elec- 
lion after that when he succeeded Vane 
had not been carried with universal satisfac- 
tion. Another temporary cause of discontent with 
the existing administration was, that "the Court, 
finding the number of Deputies to be much in- 
creased by the number of new plantations, thought 
fit, for the use both of the country and the Court, 
to reduce all towns to two Deputies. This occa- 
sioned some to fear that the Magistrates intended 
to make themselves stronger and the Deputies 
weaker, and so in time to bring all power into the 
hands of the Magistrates." " By force of reason," 
the question about the number of Deputies was 
settled to the general satisfaction ; and for forty 
years from this time there was a uniform delega- 
tion of two representatives from every town in the 

After the third year of Winthrop's second period 
of service as Governor, the personal question re- 
lating to him was disposed of in the best way 
possible, as things stood, both for him and for the 
jg^Q country. Dudley was elected in his place, 
*^^^^- — "a man," says his magnanimous prede- 
sessor, " of approved wisdom and godliness, and 


of much good service to the country; and there- 
fore it was his due to share in such honor and 
benefit as the country had to bestow. The elders, 
being met at Boston about this matter, sent some 
of their company to acquaint the old Governor 
with their desire, and the reasons moving them, 
clearing themselves of all dislike of his govern- 
ment, and seriously professing their sincere affec- 
tions and respect towards him, which he kindly 
and thankfully accepted." In the new election, 
he had the satisfaction of seeing still better evi- 
dence of the public approbation of that govern- 
ment of which he had been the head. It was no 
further changed than by the promotion of Dudley 
and Bellingham each one step in official station, 
while he himself took Bellingham's place as an 

In the second period of Winthrop's administra- 
tion of the chief magistracy, yet another attempt 
had been made by the home government — the 
final one for the present — to get possession of 
the charter of Massachusetts. A " very strict 
order" came from the Commissioners of Plan- 
tations for its instant transmission to England. 
The General Court, after a pause of some ^^^ 
months, " agreed that a letter should be ^p'- ^• 
written by the Governor in the name of the Court, 
to excuse our not sending of it ; for it was resolved 
to be best not to send it, because then such of our 
friends and others in England would conceive it 
to be surrendered, and that thereupon we should 

252 massachusp:tts. 

be bound to receive such a Governor and such or- 
ders as should be sent to us, and many bad minds, 
yea, and some weak ones, among ourselves would 
think it lawful, if not necessary, to accept a Gen- 
eral Governor." 

Winthrop's letter addressed to the Commission- 
ers for Plantations, under this order, is a document 
worthy of all remembrance, as displaying the spirit 
and policy of the time. It begins with a refusal 
to transmit the patent, expressed in the form of a 
petition for a further consideration of the demand, 
and in the style of diplomatic courtesy appropriate 
to such communications. It declares, that, had 
notice been received of the prosecution under the 
quo warranto^ there would have been " a sufficient 
plea to put in." The material part of the mani- 
festo then follows : — 

" It is not unknown to your Lordships, that we 
came into these remote parts with his Majesty's 
license and encouragement, under his great seal 
of England ; and, in the confidence we had of 
the great assurance of his favor, we have trans- 
ported our families and estates, and here have we 
built and planted, to the great enlargement and 
securing of his Majesty's dominions in these parts, 
so as, if our patent should be now taken from us, 
we should be scoffed at as runagates and outlaws, 
and shall be enforced either to remove to some 
other place, or to return to our native country 
again, either of which will put us to insuperable 
extremities; and these evils (among others) will 
necessarily follow : — 


" 1. Many thoasand souls will be exposed to 
ruin, being laid open to the injuries of all men. 

" 2. If we be forced to desert the place, the rest 
of the plantations about us (being too weak to 
subsist alone) will, for the most part, dissolve and 
go along with us ; and then will this whole country 
fall into the hands of French or Dutch, who would 
speedily embrace such an opportunity. 

" 3. If we should lose all our labor and cost, and 
be deprived of those liberties which his Majesty 
hath granted us, and nothing laid to our charge, 
nor any failing to be found in us in point of alle- 
giance, (which all our countrymen do take notice 
of, and do justify our faithfulness in this behalf,) it 
will discourage all men hereafter from the like un- 
dertakings, upon confidence of his Majesty's royal 

" 4. Lastly, if our patent be taken from us (where- 
by we suppose we may claim interest in his Maj- 
esty's favor and protection), the common people 
here will conceive that his Majesty hath cast them 
off, and that hereby they are freed from their alle- 
giance and subjection, and thereupon will be ready 
to confederate themselves under a new govern- 
ment, for their necessary safety and subsistence, 
which will be of dangerous example unto other 
plantations, and perilous to ourselves of incurring 
his Majesty's displeasure, which we would by all 
means avoid." 

Here, after a little more empty threatening from 
the Commissioners, the business slept for the pres- 


ent. There was more serious matter for concern 
nearer home. The Scots were in arms. The his- 
torian Hutchinson thought, that, if the settlers in 
Massachusetts had now been pushed to extremity, 
it was " pretty certain the body of the people would 
have left the country," either betaking themselves 
to the Dutch on Hudson's River, or seeking some 
unoccupied spot out of the reach of any Euro- 
pean power. But a combination with the Dutch, 
while it would have secured their liberty of wor- 
ship, might not even have involved a necessity for 
their change of residence. As things stood, the 
great maritime power of the United Provinces, had 
it been engaged to come in aid of what the trans- 
planted Englishmen could do for themselves, might 
fairly be supposed competent to protect them in 
their Massachusetts homes. 

For a second time, Dudley served as Governor 
only one year. Richard Bellingham was 
chosen to be his successor, with Endicott 
for Deputy- Governor. The election of Belling- 
ham, which was made by a majority of only six 
votes when there were some fourteen hundred 
voters, took the General Court by surprise, and 
was received by them with a displeasure which 
they testified promptly and significantly. The Gov- 
ernor was no sooner sworn in, than they passed 
a vote to repeal " the order formerly made for al- 
lowing a hundred pounds per annum for the Gov- 
ernor." This period of Bellinghara's life was not 
the most creditable. He occasioned scandal by an 


ansuitable matrimonial contract, by neglecting to 
have the banns published according to law, and by 
performing the marriage ceremony himself; and, 
when called to account before the Board of Magis- 
trates, he indulged himself in disrespectful and dis- 
orderly behavior. The General Court " was full 
of uncomfortable agitations and contentions," by 
reason of his unfriendliness to " some other of the 
Magistrates." The candid Winthrop, who gives 
some instances of Bellingham's maladministration, 
found himself compelled to impute it to "an evil 
spirit of emulation and jealousy, through his mel- 
ancholy disposition." Dudley's disgust was such 
that he could scarcely be prevailed upon not to 
withdraw from office. Perhaps it was with a view 
to provide some check to what was apprehended 
from his overbearing disposition, that an able man, 
John Humphrey, was advanced to the new 
trust of " Sergeant- Major General" of all the 
military force of the colony. Whenever the ship 
of state was laboring, the natural resource 


was to call Winthrop to the helm; and he 
was again made Governor at the end of Belling- 
ham's year of office. 

At this time, " there arose a scruple about the 
oath which the Governor and the rest of the Magis- 
trates were to take, viz : about the first part of it,« 
*you shall bear true faith and allegiance to our 
sovereign lord, King Charles,' seeing he had vio- 
lated the privileges of Parliament, and made war 
upon them, and thereby had lost much of his king- 


dom and many of his subjects ; whereupon it vvaa 
thought fit to omit that part of it for the present." 
And here was an end, for many years, to all pub- 
lic recognition of royal authority in Massachusetts. 

The second year of Winthrop's third service in 
the chief magistracy of Massachusetts was signal- 
ized by the perfecting of the system of internal ad- 
ministration in two respects, and by the maturing 
of a measure which materially changed, and fixed 
for a long period, the relations of the colonies of 
New England to one another, and to the world 

One of the improvements now made was the dis- 
tribution of the towns of Massachusetts, thirty in 
number, into four counties, named, Suffolk, Nor- 
folk, Essex, and Middlesex, from the English shires 
jg43 from which probably the greater number of 
May 10. immigrants had come. A framework for 
this organization already existed in the institution 
of Quarterly Courts held at four principal places, 
and in the organization of the military force into 
regiments according to a local division. The armed 
levy of each county was presently after 
placed under the command of a " Lieuten- 
ant," an officer corresponding to the Lord-Lieu- 
tenant of an English shire, and inferior only to the 
Governor and the Sergeant- Major General of the 
colony. In each county there was to be a Sergeant- 
Major, second in command to the Lieutenant. 

The same year witnessed the adoption of that 
great security of constitutional governments, which. 


late in the following century, was to be maintained 
by John Adams against the arguments of Turgot 
and the judgment of Franklin, and which now 
makes a part of the organic law of each one of the 
United States of America, as well as of the federal 
government that unites them. A division of the 
legislature into two coordinate branches terminated 
a controversy between the Magistrates and Depu- 
ties which had been running on for several years. 

" There fell out a great business," writes Win- 
throp, " upon a very small occasion," which 
he proceeds to relate. " There was a stray 
sow in Boston, which was brought to Captain 
Keayne," a man of property and consequence, but 
unpopular for alleged hardness in his dealings. He 
advertised for its owner in vain, till after he had 
killed a pig of his own, which had been kept along 
with the stray. Then a woman named Sherman 
came to see it, and, not being able to identify 
it with one she had lost, alleged that the slaugh- 
tered pig was hers. A litigation followed, and par- 
ties became excited. A jury exonerated Captain 
Keayne, who turned on his prosecutor with a suit 
for defamation, in which also he prevailed. Mrs. 
Sherman appealed to the General Court. With 
the popular portion of that body, in which ^q^ 
as yet Magistrates and Deputies sat and ^^"^' 
voted in the same chamber, the prejudices against 
Keayne had weight. Seven Magistrates with only 
eight Deputies voted in his favor, while fifteen 
Deputies sustained two Magistrates against him. 

VOL. I. 17 


Thus a large majority of the superior officials wa3 
on one side, while in a joint vote the majority of 
the Court would be for the other. In circum- 
stances which so enlisted a popular feeling, the 
fundamental question of the mutual relation of 
the two classes of representatives was brought up. 
The Magistrates published a declaration respect- 
ing it. The now factious Bellingham answered 
the declaration, and Winthrop replied to him. " It 
was the Magistrates' only care," he said, " to gain 
time, that so the people's heat might be abated, 
for then they knew they would hear reason." The 
event proved that their confidence was not mis- 
placed. At the end of two years more the contro- 
versy was happily and wisely terminated. The 
people did hear reason ; and, when the next action 
was had upon the subject, the negative vote was 
jg^^ not " taken away," but duplicated. With- 
March 7. q^^- opposition, SO far as is known, the fol- 
lowing vote was passed by the General Court : — 
" It is ordered, that the Magistrates may sit and 
act business by themselves, by drawing up bills and 
orders which they shall see good in their wisdom, 
which having agreed upon, they may present them 
to the Deputies to be considered of, how good and 
wholesome such orders are for the country, and 
accordingly to give their assent or dissent ; the 
Deputies in like manner sitting apart by them- 
selves, and consulting about such orders and laws 
as they in their discretion and experience shall 
find meet for common good, which, agreed upon 


by them, they may present to the Magistrates, 
who, according to their wisdom having seriously 
considered of them, may consent unto them or dis- 
allow them." 

" This order," not by hurtfuUy withdrawing a 
power from the Magistrates, as had been attempted, 
but by beneficially conferring an equal power upon 
the Deputies, " determined the great contention 
about the negative voice," and completed the frame 
of the internal government of Massachusetts, des- 
tined to undergo no further organic change for forty 

A measure of still greater moment had been con- 
summated some months earlier. This was no less 
than a political confederation of the four principal 
colonies of New England. 

This measure, the scheme of which had, perhaps, 
been derived from the Confederacy of the Low 
Countries, had been conceived several years before. 
Such of the reasons finally availing for its adoption, 
as seemed fit to be committed to a formal record, 
are set forth in the preamble to the Articles. 

" Whereas we all came into these parts of Amer- 
ica with one and the same end and aim, namely, to 
advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and 
to enjoy the liberties of the gospel in purity with 
peace; — and whereas in our settling (by a wise 
providence of God) we are further dispersed upon 
the sea-coast and rivers than was at first intended, 
so that we cannot, according to our desire, with 
convenience communicate in one government and 


jurisdiction; — and whereas we live encompassed 
with people of several nations and strange lan- 
guages, which hereafter may prove injurious to us, 
or our posterity; — and forasmuch as the natives 
have formerly committed sundry insolences and 
outrages upon several plantations of the English, 
and have of late combined themselves against us; 
— and seeing, by reason of those sad distractions 
in England which they have heard of, and by which 
they know we are hindered from that humble way 
of seeking advice, or reaping those comfortable 
fruits of protection which at other times we might 
well expect : — We therefore do conceive it to be 
our bounden duty without delay to enter into a 
present consociation among ourselves for mutual 
help and strength in all our future concernments; 
that, as in nation and religion, so in other respects, 
we be and continue one." 

Of the five specifications here made, it was the 
third particularly that expressed the original occa- 
sion of the movement. The " people of several 
nations and strange languages" were the French 
upon the eastern frontier of the English colonists, 
the Dutch upon the western, and the Swedes 
further south. Six years after the fall of Gus- 
tavus Adolphus on the field of Liitzen, a small 
company of Swedes, following up a plan of colo- 
nization conceived by that prince, had come and 
settled on Delaware Bay. They were too 
distant and too few to be formidable to New 
England. The French did not seem likely for the 


present to attempt the use of any force beyond 
what Massachusetts, which alone was exposed to 
it, was amply competent to cope with. But Con- 
necticut and New Haven, from the first, had suf- 
fered annoyance from the Dutch settlement at the 
mouth of the Hudson. 

Accordingly, the original movement towards a 
confederation came from the western colonies, and 
this harassing state of their relations with their 
Dutch neighbors is recorded as its cause. The 
first proposal had come from Connecticut, jgg- 
so early as before the planting of New Ha- ^"^' ^^' 
ven. It produced no result at the time. But, as the 
Dutchmen grew more encroaching, it was .g™ 
revived, and Haynes and Hooker " came ^*y- 
into the Bay, and stayed near a month " to confer 
upon it. 

Hitherto, and for a considerable time latep^ Mas- 
sachusetts seems to have been indifferent to the 
measure, — perhaps from unwillingness to be in- 
vested with a share in the joint administration 
equal only to that claimed by sister communities 
less populous and powerful. At length, her course 
in respect to it was changed. A concurrence of 
circumstances at that point of time deserves notice. 
" The propositions sent from Connecticut jg^g 
about a combination, etc., were read, and Sept. 27. 
referred to a committee to consider of after the 
Court." The Court, " with advice of the elders," 
had just " ordered a general fast," of which the 
specified occasions were, " second, the danger of 


the Indians; third, the unseasonable weather;" 
but first and chiefly, " the ill news we had out of 
England concerning the breach between the King 
and Parliament." The war that had begun in the 
mother country in the previous month had been 
impending through all the summer. Puritanism 
and civil liberty were to try their issue at the 
sword's point against despotism and prelacy. If 
the right were doomed to be stricken down on the 
other side of the water, it would only the more 
need a refuge upon this; and, as long as the bal- 
ance was trembling, the encouragement of friend- 
ship, though neither powerful nor near, ndght add 
a weight to determine which way it should incline. 
At all events, when tyrannical King and patriotic 
Parliament were in arms against each other, it was 
prudent for distant Englishmen to be likewise in 
panoply to meet all occasions ; when their num- 
bers were lessened by the drawing off of reinforce- 
ments to a remote field, it was wise in those who 
were left to fortify themselves with the strength of 
union ; and he reads the avowed reasons for the 
New England Confederacy with superficial observa- 
tion, who does not single out from the rest " those 
sad distractions in England " as having had a spe- 
cial efficacy in bringing about the measure. 

At the next General Court, commissioners from 
1643. Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven 
May 10. presented themselves at Boston. The Gov- 
ernor, with two Magistrates and three Deputies, 
was authorized to treat on the part of Massachu- 


setts. The deliberations issued in agreement upon 
twelve Articles, and created what, for important 
purposes, was for many years a Federal Govern- 
ment of the New England Colonies. Re- 

May 19. 

ceiving at once the signatures of all the 
commissioners except those of Plymouth, who had 
not brought authority to sign, they were ^^ ^ 
soon ratified by the government of that 
colony also. 

The settlements of Gorges, and the plantations 
about Narragansett Bay, were denied admission 
to the Confederacy. Neither had yet been able to 
institute a government, such as could be relied 
on for the fulfilment of the stipulations mutually 
made by the four colonies. The oath taken by the 
freemen of Rhode Island contained an engage- 
ment of fealty to the King ; and Gorges, the pro- 
prietary of Maine, was in arms for him. It was 
by no influence proceeding from such sources that 
the objects of the Confederacy were to be carried 

The confederation was no less than an act of 
absolute sovereignty on the part of the contracting 
States. The first two Articles bound together the 
four colonies and their dependencies, under the 
name of " The United Colonies of New Eng-land,'" 
in "a firm and perpetual league of friendship and 
amity for offence and defence, mutual advice and 
succor, upon all just occasions, both for preserving 
ond propagating the truth and liberties of the gos- 
pel, and for their own mutual safety and welfare." 


The third provided, that, for purposes of internal 
administration, each colony should retain its in- 
dependence, and that no new mennber should be 
received into the league, nor any tv^^o present mem- 
bers be consolidated into one jurisdiction, without 
" consent of the rest." 

By the fourth, levies of men, money, and sup- 
plies for war were to be assessed on the respective 
colonies, in proportion to the male population of 
each between the ages of sixteen and sixty, as 
ascertained by a census to be made from time to 
time for each colony by its Commissioners ; and 
the spoils of war were to be distributed to the sev- 
eral colonies on the same principle. 

According to the fifth, upon notice, by three 
Magistrates, of an existing invasion of any col- 
ony, the rest were forthwith to send it relief, — 
Massachusetts to the number of a hundred men, 
if so many were needed, and each of the others to 
the number of forty-five, " sufficiently armed and 
provided for such a service and journey." The 
nearest confederate alone was to be summoned, 
if the occasion required no more ; and then the 
men were "to be victualled, and supplied with 
powder and shot for their journey (if there were 
need) by that jurisdiction which employed or sent 
for them." If more than the whole stipulated 
amount of aid was demanded, then the whole body 
of Commissioners was to be convened in order 
to a further enlistment should they see cause ; 
or, if in their judgment the invaded colony was 


in fault, then to condemn it to give satisfaction to 
the invader, and to defray the charges incurred. 
In the case of " danger of any invasion approach- 
ing," three Magistrates (or if in the threatened 
jurisdiction there were no more than three, then 
two) might summon a meeting of the Commis- 

By the sixth, a board was constituted for the 
management of the business of the Confederacy, 
to consist of two Commissioners from each col- 
ony, all of them church-members, with power to 
"determine all affairs of war or peace, leagues, 
aids, charges, and numbers of men for war, di- 
vision of spoils, and whatsoever was gotten by 
conquest, receiving of more confederates for plan- 
tations into combination with any of the confed- 
erates, and all things of like nature which were 
the proper concomitants or consequents of such 
a confederation for amity, offence, and defence." 
The concurrence of six Commissioners was to be 
conclusive ; in fault of this, the matter was to be 
referred to the General Courts of the several col- 
onies, and the concurrence of them all was to be 
binding. The Commissioners were to meet once 
a year, on the first Thursday of September, and 
as much oftener as occasion should require. The 
meetings, until some permanent place of meeting 
should be agreed upon, were to be held in succes- 
sion at the principal towns of the colonies respec- 
tively, except that two meetings out of five were 
.,0 be at Boston. 


The seventh authorized the Commissioners, or 
six of them, at each meeting, to choose a president 
from their own number, who was to be " invested 
with no power or respect," except " to take care 
and direct for order, and a comely carrying on of 
all proceedings." 

The eighth directed the Commissioners to " en- 
deavor to frame and establish agreements and 
orders, in general cases of a civil nature wherein 
all the plantations were interested, for preserving 
peace among themselves, and preventing, as much 
as might be, all occasions of war, or difference with 
others," as by the securing of justice to citizens of 
different jurisdictions, and a firm and equitable 
course of proceeding towards the Indians ; and it 
stipulated the extradition of runaway servants and 
fugitives from justice. 

By the ninth, the confederates mutually engaged 
themselves to abstain from all war not inevitable, 
and from all claim to reimbursement for military 
charges, except with the approbation of the Cora^ 

The tenth permitted a preliminary action by 
four Commissioners, in cases of exigency, when a 
larger number could not be convened. 

The eleventh, in case of any breach of the terms 
of the alliance by any colony, invested the Commis- 
sioners of the other colonies with authority to de- 
termine the offence and the remedy. 

And the twelfth was a ratification of the eleven 
preceding, which were to go into effect either with 


or without the expected concurrence of Plymouth, 
whosp representatives had brought " no commis- 
sion to conclude." 

Of this confederation, which "offers the first ex- 
ample of coalition in colonial story, and showed to 
party leaders in after-times the advantages of con- 
cert," it was not without apparent reason that the 
unfriendly historian Chalmers remarked, that its 
" principles were altogether those of independency, 
and it cannot easily be supported by any other." 
It had scarcely been formed when the English 
Parliament, turning its attention to the American 
colonies, and assuming the same authority over 
them that had been pretended by the Kan», 

. . ^ / . ^ Not. 2. 

instituted a commission for their govern- 
ment, consisting of six lords and twelve com- 
moners, with the Earl of Warwick, the Lord 
Admiral, at its head. The commissioners were 
authorized " to provide for, order, and dispose all 
things which they should from time to time find 
most fit and advantageous to the well-governing, 
securing, strengthening, and preserving of the said 
plantations," and especially to appoint and remove 
" subordinate governors, counsellors, commanders, 
officers, and agents." The Ordinance of Parlia- 
ment was too late for New England, if, indeed, 
it was intended for anything more than to pro- 
vide for the suppression of the King's party in 
the other dependencies of the empire. The New 
England colonies had taken their afiairs into their 
own hands. By the counsels of brave men, and 


by the progress of events, a self-governing associa- 
tion of self-governing English commonwealths had 
been founded in America; and the manifestation 
which they had just now made of confidence in 
themselves and in one another may well have had 
its place, along with the sympathies which allied 
them to those who had come into power in the 
parent country, in preventing interference from 
abroad with the local administration. 

BOOK n. 



The league of tlje four colonies of New England 
lasted twenty years, and was, during that time, 
the predominant power in North America. When 
it was established, twenty-three years had passed 
since the landing of Englishmen at Plymouth, and 
thirteen years since a royal charter, transferred to 
the soil of Massachusetts, had there become the 
basis of a government. The institutions and the 
social condition of the colonies had taken a defi- 
nite shape. It will be instructive here to pause, 
and observe what the founders had done towards 
realizing the purposes of their emigration, and what 
was that primitive system of society which was to 
influence the character and fortunes of the later 
generations of the people. 

For the attainment of the objects contemplated 
by the first settlers, a political consolidation was 
desirable. But at first the tendency of things had 


been in the opposite direction. Plymouth and 
Massachusetts were distinct communities from the 
beginning. Some of the best men of Massachu- 
setts soon went away to found a separate commu- 
nity in Connecticut. Later companies of immi- 
grants, instead of stopping in Massachusetts, as it 
was hoped they would do, sought homes at the 
west near to Hudson River. Independent planta- 
tions were made in New Hampshire and Maine. 
The isolation of the settlements at Providence and 
Rhode Island, though not without its advantages 
to the other colonies, took away from their numer- 
ical strength. 

After a little time, however, this enfeebling ten- 
dency to dispersion had been checked and reversed. 
The scattered communities had been drawn to- 
gether. What there was of New Hampshire was 
merged in Massachusetts. Though the little set- 
tlements further east — chiefly of West-of-Eng- 
land fishermen — were mostly inclined to a wild 
state of society, and at the same time to the cause 
of Church and King, one of them had yielded it- 
self to the government of the leading Puritan col- 
ony, and others had solicited her patronage. The 
" Jurisdiction " of New Haven had been formed by 
a junction of distinct plantations, which, through 
a sufficient experiment of separate administration, 
had become satisfied that the great objects, com- 
mon to all, could be best attained by joint counsels 
and united strength. Finally, the four principal 
colonies, each previously compacted in its own 


way, had combined together, for mutual protec- 
tion, in a league which in important respects con- 
stituted them one body politic. 

At the time of their confederation, the popula- 
tion of the four colonies probably amounted to 
about twenty-four thousand souls, of which num- 
ber fifteen thousand may be assigned to Massa- 
chusetts, three thousand each to Plymouth and 
Connecticut, and twenty -five hundred to New 
Haven. They had established governments and 
courts of justice, which were working well. They 
had organized and trained a military force. They 
had founded numerous churches, and furnished 
them with a pious and learned ministry. They 
bad established schools and a college. They had 
fallen into methods of industry, which promised to 
themselves and their descendants a sufficiency of 
the means of living. And they had a fair prospect 
of continued tranquillity ; for their friends at home 
were giving the King too much employment to al- 
low him leisure to molest them, and the savages 
in their neighborhood they had partly intimidated, 
and partly won to friendship. 

The governments of the several colonies were 
framed on the same general model. No one of 
them had definite reference to any superior author- 
ity in England. In all of them the freemen 
were the fountain of power. Suffirage was not 
universal ; in every colony there were numbers of 
inhabitants who were not freemen. After a body 
of fireemen had been once constituted, admissions 


to it were accorded by the vote of those who were 
already comprehended in it. In Massachusetts 
and New Haven, the discretion of the freemen as 
to the admission of new associates was limited by 
a standing rule which excluded all but such as 
had been received into full communion with some 
church. Most church-members became also free- 
men, but not all; some forbore to seek the fran- 
chise, through unwillingness to become eligible to 
public office. In Plymouth and Connecticut, the 
franchise was conferred on inhabitants of the re- 
spective towns by the votes, or on the recommen- 
dation addressed to the General Court, of such as 
were already freemen or residents of the towns. 
But though church-membership was in neither of 
those colonies an essential legal qualification for 
citizenship, still, in them too, a religious character 
in the candidate, such as naturally led to church- 
membership, and was commonly found in union 
with it, was much regarded by the electors as a 
recommendation to their favor ; and statutes of a 
later period, providing that a candidate must be 
of " a peaceable and honest conversation," and 
" orthodox in the fundamentals of religion," are 
naturally understood as formal enactments of what 
had been the primitive practice. 

In all the confederate colonies elections of rulers 
were annual. In Massachusetts this arrangement 
was required by the charter ; elsewhere it was 
dictated by the republican views of the freemen. 
Each colony had a Governor, whose power, though 


not altogether the same in the different jurisdic- 
tions, was in all substantially identical with that of 
the other Magistrates, except in his being the organ 
of their will, and the moderator in public assem- 
blies. All but Plymouth had a Deputy- Governor^ 
to take the Governor's place when it became vacant 
during the official term, and to act meanwhile 
with those other dignified officials, who, under the 
name of Assistants in Plymouth and Massachu- 
setts, and of Magistrates in the two western colo- 
nies, were associated with the Governor in the 
highest functions of administration. The central 
authority was also shared by the Deputies, who, 
however, in no colony constituted as yet a sep- 
arate and coordinate branch of the government. 
While the superior functionaries were elected by 
the votes of the freemen of the whole colony, 
counted together, the Deputies were chosen for 
each town by a majority of its voters. Any free- 
man of the colony was eligible by a town to be its 
Deputy, without reference to his being an inhabi- 
tant of the town. 

In Massachusetts, the Governor was remunerated 
for his service by special grants of the General 
Court, made from year to year ; the Deputy-Gov- 
ernor and the Assistants, as well as the Deputies, 
received an allowance at a fixed rate for each day 
of their presence in the General Court, the latter 
paid sometimes by their towns, and sometimes from 
the colonial treasury. In Plymouth, the Magis- 
trates, when on duty, had their living at the public 

VOL. I. 18 


charge, without other compensation. Neither in 
Connecticut nor in New Haven does it appear that 
either Magistrates or Deputies received any regu- 
lar stipend in the early times. 

The public treasury of each colony was sap- 
plied by direct taxes upon the property of residents, 
whether freemen or not. There was as yet no 
capitation tax, excise, or duty on imported com- 

The part in the general legislation which the 
towns took by their Deputies in the General Court, 
was not the chief of the functions that belonged to 
them. In the development of a system coeval with 
the settlement of the country, the whole inhabited 
territory of New England is laid off into towns. 
Every man in New England belongs to some town. 
Each town is a body politic, with an administra- 
tion of its own, conducted by officers of its own 
choice, according to its will, except as that will is 
restrained within limits prescribed by the higher 
common authority. A town is in law a corpora- 
tion, with rights and liabilities as such, capable 
of suing and subject to be sued in the courts, in 
disputes with any parties, individual or corporate. 
A town is obliged by law to protect health and 
quiet within its borders, by means of a police ; to 
maintain safe and convenient communication about 
and through its precinct by roads and bridges ; to 
furnish food, clothing, and shelter to its poor ; and 
to provide for the instruction of all the children of 
its inhabitants, at the common charge. Besides 

TOWNS. 275 

occasional meetings, the voters of a town come 
togetiier once every year, to choose the adminis- 
trators of its business, and determine the amount 
of money with which it will intrust them, and how 
this shall be raised. If a general tax is levied, the 
proportion assessed on each town is paid from the 
town treasury, the townsmen, by their assessors, 
distributing the burden of the payment among 
their own people. On matters of their own inter- 
est, the towns present their petitions, and, as to 
matters of general concern, they send their advice, to 
the central authorities. By their magistrates, they 
supervise the elections alike of municipal officers, 
and of all others designated by popular choice. 

The experience of later times has dictated im- 
provements of detail in the municipal system of 
New England, but its outline was complete when 
it was first devised. No city government was con- 
stituted in New England till more than a century 
and a half after the first settlement ; none in Mas- 
sachusetts till more than two hundred years. In 
law, a city is a town, the difference between them 
being only in internal administration ; the former 
managing its affairs by representatives chosen by 
the citizens ; the latter, by votes of the whole body 
of citizens in town meeting. 

At the epoch of the confederation there were 
forty-nine towns in the four colonies, of which 
number Plymouth had eight, Massachusetts thirty, 
Connecticut (including Saybrook) six, and New 
Haven five. The institution of towns had it3 


origin in Massachusetts, and was borrowed thence 
by the other governments. Almost from the be 
ginning, each town had the following civil officers, 
chosen by its own freemen ; namely, a board of 
Selectmen, varying in number from three to nine ; 
a Clerk ; a Treasurer ; a Sealer of Weights and 
Measures ; one or more Surveyors of Highways ; 
and one or more Tithing-men. Meanwhile the per- 
sons exercising ecclesiastical functions were officers 
of the same community, elected by substantially 
the same body of constituents ; for wherever there 
was a town, there was, or should be, a church, and 
voters in church meetings and in town meetings 
were the same persons. 

In the beginning of the colonies, judicial author- 
ity was exercised by the whole body of the freemen, 
and by the central board of Magistrates. When 
the settlements of Plymouth began to extend, " two 
sufficient men, one of Yarmouth and another of 
Barnstable," were empowered, in association with 
an Assistant, to decide " controversies, not exceed- 
ing three pounds." The institution was copied in 
Connecticut and in New Haven. Massachusetts 
early established " Inferior Courts," consisting each 
of five judges; one at least being a Magistrate res- 
ident within the jurisdiction of his court, the others 
being persons appointed by the General Court 
from a list nominated by the freemen of the towns 
within the circuit. These courts had jurisdiction 
in civil causes to the amount of ten pounds, and 
in " criminal causes, not concerning life, member, 


or banishment." " Town Courts," or " courts to 
order small causes," disposed of questions involv- 
ing an amount not exceeding twenty shillings. 
" Merchants' or Strangers' Courts," invested with 
all the power of the bench of Magistrates, might 
be held by the Governor or Deputy-Governor, with 
two Assistants, for the accommodation of persons 
who desired to avoid being detained in the country. 
By an amendment of the original system. Inferior 
Courts obtained jurisdiction in cases of divorce 
and of probate of wills. Appeals lay from the 
Town Courts to the Inferior Courts ; from the latter 
to the Court of Assistants ; and from the Court of 
Assistants to the General Court. The General 
Court alone possessed the pardoning power. It 
was the tribunal of final jurisdiction. There was 
no recognized method of appeal from it to the King 
in Council, to a commission for the colonies, or to 
any other authority beyond sea. 

In all the colonies, the Assistants or Magistrates 
exercised the functions of Justices of the Peace. 
Constables, in the early times, were selected from 
among men of property and consequence. They 
w^ere appointed annually, at first by the General 
Court, afterwards by the towns. New Haven 
could find nothing of juries in the Old Testament. 
The three other colonies had both petit juries and 
juries of inquest. There were no professional 
advocates. A prisoner or suitor might argue his 
own cause, or a friend might appear in his behal£ 
Processes had a general conformity to those of the 


Common Law. In taking an oath, the witness 
lifted his right hand. The English ceremony of 
kissing the book was rejected as idolatrous. 

The earliest colonial code of statutes was that 
of Plymouth. Established when the colony had 
existed sixteen years, it was not framed upon any 
theory of conformity to the Jewish law, or to the 
law of England, but consisted of such provisions 
as, on general principles of jurisprudence, and with 
the experience which had been obtained, appeared 
suitable to secure the well-being of the little com- 
munity. It allowed authority to such laws only 
as were enacted by the body of the freemen, or by 
their representatives legally assembled. It recog- 
nized eight capital offences, and made other crimes 
punishable at the discretion of the Magistrates. 
In transfers of real estate, it required acknowledg- 
ment before a Magistrate, and a public record. 
Widows were to have a third part of the personal 
property of the deceased husband, and the usufruct 
of a third part of his real estate. Marriages, when 
parents refused their sanction, might be contracted 
" with the consent of the Governor, or some Assist- 
ant, to whom the persons were known." Every 
resident was to provide himself with certain arms 
and accoutrements. The retail sale of liquors, 
except in private houses, was forbidden. A few 
other simple regulations, among which were some 
relating to the distribution of lands and to tres- 
passes of domestic animals, made a body of law 
8uflB.cient for the present needs of the orderly peo- 


pie of Plymouth. In the next eight years a very 
few enactments were added, of which the most 
important related to military organization and sup- 
plies, and to settling the powers and liabilities of 

In Massachusetts, for more than ten years, the 
administration of justice was without the security 
either of a system of statutes, or of any recogni- 
tion of the authority of the Common Law. The 
law dispensed by the Magistrates was no other 
than equity, as its principles and rules existed in 
their own reason and conscience, instructed by 
Scripture. The people continued to be solicitous 
for the safeguard of a written code ; the leaders 
still felt the force of reasons for obstructing that 
wish. The difference led to a long struggle, which, 
however, was conducted without acrimony. At 
length, by the course of time and of events, the 
grounds of objection were mainly removed. On 
the one hand, the characteristics of a useful juris- 
prudence had disclosed themselves in the experi- 
ence of several years ; and on the other hand, 
Parliament was rising to power in England, and 
in Massachusetts the fear of impending hostility 
from that quarter was dying away. 

While the question was pending, Cotton had 
prepared a small volume, which was printed in 
England, with the incongruous title, " An Abstract 
of the Laws of New England, as they are now 
established." It never was approved by the Gen- 
eral Court, nor obtained any authority. Nathaniel 


Ward, of Ipswich, of which town he had formerly 
been minister for a short time, was more than any 
other man the legislator of primitive Massachu- 
1641. setts. The General Court, apparently by a 
"^°* unanimous vote, established a code of fun- 
damental laws, prepared by Ward, under the name 
of The Body of Liberties. 

Ward had been a minister in England, before his 
emigration ; earlier yet, he had studied and prac- 
tised in the Common Law courts. The contents 
of the Body of Liberties are digested in a hundred 
sections. The first paragraph, constituting a Bill 
of Rights, is as follows : — 

" No man's life shall be taken away ; no man's 
honor or good name shall be stained; no man's 
person shall be arrested, restrained, banished, dis- 
membered, nor any ways punished ; no man shall 
be deprived of his wife or children ; no man's goods 
or estates shall be taken away, nor any way en- 
dangered, under color of law, or countenance of 
authority, unless it be by virtue or equity of some 
express law of the country warranting the same, 
established by the General Court and sufficiently 
published, or, in case of the defect of the law in 
any particular case, by the word of God, and in 
capital cases, or in cases concerning dismember- 
ment or banishment, according to that word to be 
judged by the General Court." 

The code goes on to. prescribe general rules of 
judicial proceeding; to define the privileges and 
duties of freemen ; to provide for justice to women, 


children, servants, and foreigners, and for humane 
treatment of the brute creation ; to declare capital 
offences, twelve in number ; and to describe the 
liberties and prerogatives of the churches. 

In the promulgation of the principle that life, 
liberty, or property was not to be invaded except 
by virtue of express law established by the local 
authority, a step was taken than which none could 
be more important tow^ards creating a common- 
wealth at once prosperous and independent. The 
government constituted by the charter of the Massa- 
chusetts Company was forbidden, by a provision of 
that instrument, to make laws repugnant to the 
laws of England. Ward's formula gave distinct 
utterance to the doctrine that English law had in 
Massachusetts no other than this restrictive force, 
and that within the limit so prescribed she was 
competent to build up such a system of jurispru- 
dence as her condition might seem to herself to 
require. As long as that principle was observed 
in practice, the King could touch no man within 
her territory. It was almost a Declaration of Inde- 

In respect to the penalty of death, Ward and his 
associates had tender scruples; and in the Body of 
Liberties the laws for inflicting it, unlike the rest, 
are sustained by references to Scripture. Yet in 
its list of capital crimes, that code did not adopt 
the whole system of Moses ; it did not include 
among them the striking or reviling of parents, or 
the breaking of the Sabbath. The English law 


of the time denounced capital punishment against 
more than thirty offences. The Body of Liberties 
reduced the number to ten. It borrowed from the 
Mosaic law some of its provisions respecting inher- 
itance and servitude. Thus it gave a twofold share 
of the estate of an intestate parent to the oldest 
son, and secured to servants humane treatment 
during the time of their bondage, and an adequate 
temporary provision when it expired. One feature 
of the law of servitude deserves especial mention. 
The child of slaves was as free as any other child. 
No person was ever legally held to servitude in 
Massachusetts as being the offspring of a slave 

The first code of law adopted in Connecticut 
1642. related only to capital offences. Established 
^''' a year later than the Massachusetts Body 
of Liberties, it is in great part a verbal copy from 
that instrument. Neither before, nor for several 
years after, the confederation of the colonies, had 
New Haven any body of statutes. Daring this 
time the courts were guided in their decisions by 
what, in their apprehension, were the rules of 
equity and Scripture. The popular story of the 
" Blue Laws " of New Haven is without founda- 
tion in fact. It was the fabrication of a dishonest 
writer of the period of the War of Independence. 

After the example of the mother country, orders 
were made in all the colonies for the regulation of 
the prices of commodities and of labor. Experi- 
ence proved the futility of such legislation, and in 


due time it was abandoned. The less objectionable 
enactments, aimed at the restraint of extravagance 
in dress, were also no inventions of New England 
or of Puritanism. They had precedents in the 
earlier history of England. Not only the support 
of the ministrations of religion, but personal at- 
tendance upon them, was enforced by law. So it 
was in Virginia, and so it was in England. In all 
Christian countries it was understood to belong to 
the rightful province of law to control the individ- 
ual, not only for his neighbor's protection, but for 
his own well-being and improvement.'* But if the 
New England founders had not received that theory, 
probably they would have originated it. The peo- 
ple of that region in modern times have supposed 
it to be no invasion of the citizen's liberty to re- 
quire him to submit his children to instruction in 
reading, writing, and accounts, to the end that they 
may not grow up to be incapable and shiftless, 
troublesome and chargeable. On similar grounds 
the fathers considered it to be alike conducive to 
the public good and unobjectionable to the indi- 
vidual, that he should be saved from the misery to 
himself and the mischievousness to his neighbors 
of ignorance respecting morals and religion. Their 
political foresight enforced such a policy. For a 
godless population is a population ungovernable 
except by a despotism. To be capable of lasting 
liberty, a people must be religious. It is vital to 
free government, that they who are to sustain and 
enjoy it should have a sense of the government of 


God. If neither devout worshippers nor virtuoas 
citizens can be made by law, it by no means fol- 
lows that the law can do nothing, or can do noth- 
ing without countervailing disadvantages, towards 
bringing the citizen within the reach of influences 
helpful to his becoming devout and virtuous. 



The religious objects of the colonists claimed 
their immediate attention. The planters at Plym- 
outh had no new scheme of church order to de- 
vise. Theirs was the scheme of the English Inde- 
pendents, already put in practice and amended 
by themselves in Europe. It was introduced into 
Massachusetts by the congregation of Skelton and 
Higginson, was adopted by the companies who 
joined them in the following year, and was carried 
to Connecticut and New Haven by the founders 
of those colonies. A church was a company of 
believers, associated together by a mutual cove- 
nant to maintain and share Christian worship 
and ordinances, and to watch over each other's 
spiritual condition. A church, it was held, " ought 
not to be of greater number than might ordinarily 
meet together conveniently in one place, nor ordi- 
narily fewer than might conveniently carry on 
church work." Persons so pledged and associated 
were church - members ; and they, and no others, 
were entitled to come to the Lord's Supper, and to 
present their children for baptism. Each church 
was an independent body, competent to elect and 


ordain its officers, to admit, govern, censure, and 
expel its members, and to do all other things prop- 
erly pertaining to ecclesiastical order. A church 
fully furnished had a Pastor and a Teacher, both 
of whom preached and administered the ordi- 
nances, while the distinctive function of the former 
was to exhort in public and private, of the latter 
to enforce doctrine and interpret Scripture. Each 
church had also one or more " ruling elders," who 
shared with the " teaching elders " the office of 
discipline, and deacons, who had the charge of 
prudential concerns and of providing for the poor. 
But the office of ruling elder was not uniformly 
kept up ; the office of Pastor was not long discrim- 
inated from that of Teacher ; and the practice of 
maintaining two teaching elders in each church, 
often departed from in the early times, went by 
degrees into general disuse. 

At the time of the confederation there were near- 
ly eighty teaching elders in the colonies; that is, 
one minister to about three hundred of the popu- 
lation. These were generally men who had been 
reared in the best education of the time. As many 
as one half of the number are known to have been 
graduates of Oxford or Cambridge, the greater 
part being of the latter university. Not seldom 
they were men of good property. Some were held 
in the greater consideration on account of their 
being highly connected. At first, ministers were 
provided for by voluntary contributions, made every 
Sunday ; but soon " the churches held a different 


course in raising the ministers' maintenance ; some 
did it by way of taxation." 

A church officer, of whatever degree, was an 
officer only of his own church. According to the 
primitive doctrine and practice of New England, 
no man was a clergyman in any sense, either be- 
fore his election by a particular church, or after his 
relinquis'liment of the special trust so conferred ; 
and, even while in office, he was a layman to all 
the world except his own congregation, and was 
not competent to exercise any clerical function else- 
where. In the earliest times, a minister was or- 
dained, not by other ministers, but by officers of 
the church which had elected him, or, when it had 
no officers, then by some of its private members. 
It has been seen how, in Massachusetts, the prac- 
tical exigencies presented themselves which in- 
duced great practical deviations from this principle 
of mutual independence of the churches. As soon 
as, for supposed reasons of public necessity, church- 
membership and political power were combined in 
the same persons, and ministers, by receiving to 
the communion, might substantially confer the fran- 
chise, the character of ministers and the action of 
churches came vitally to concern the public ; and 
thus Church and State became intimately con- 
nected. In Massachusetts and New Haven, a meet- 
ing of the whole body of freemen in a General 
Court was composed of the same class of persons 
as a convention of members of all the churches. In 
the General Courts of Magistrates, or of Magistrates 


and Deputies, none but church-members could sit, 
or have a voice in choosing others to sit. So that 
when either sort of General Court took cognizance 
of ecclesiastical affairs, it was but the whole body 
of the church legislating for its parts, and this with 
the important peculiarity, that all the legislators by 
whom the church exercised its supreme power were 
laymen. In Plymouth and Connecticut, where the 
association between church-metnbership and citi- 
zenship was not determined by law, there was less 
action of the government upon ecclesiastical affairs. 
The place for public worship was the meeting- 
house, where assemblies for transacting the town's 
business were also held. Men and women sat 
apart on their respective sides of the house, while 
boys had a place separate from both, with a tithing- 
raan to keep them in order. The men, or such por- 
tion of them as was from time to time thought 
sufficient, were required to come completely armed. 
Two services were held on each Sunday, both 
by daylight. They consisted of extemporaneous 
prayers, singing of the Psalms in a metrical ver- 
sion, without instrumental accompaniment, and a 
sermon, of which the approved length was an hour, 
measured by an hour-glass, which stood upon the 
pulpit. The public reading of the Bible, without 
exposition, was generally disapproved, being re- 
garded as an unbecoming conformity to the hie- 
rarchical service, and qualified by the opprobrious 
name of dumb reading. Children were baptized 
in the meeting-houses, generally on the next Sun- 


day after their birth. Communicants sat while 
receiving the consecrated elements. Ministers did 
not officiate at marriages ; the contract was made 
before a Magistrate. No religious service took 
place at the burial of the dead. 

Of periodical holy - days, none was recognized 
but the first day of the week. Every kind of rec- 
reation on that day was forbidden, as well as every 
kind of labor. In some principal places a lecture 
was regularly preached on some secular day of 
every week. Christmas, Good-Friday, Easter, and 
other periodical festivals and fast-days of the 
Church, were scrupulously disregarded and dis- 
countenanced. The use of the word Saint, in con- 
nection even with the names of apostles and evan- 
gelists, was esteemed an impropriety. 

After liberty, religion, and social order, learning 
was the object nearest to the hearts of the fathers 
of New England. Some of the immigrants — 
some of the ministers especially — possessed valu- 
able collections of books. Nine years after 
the arrival of Winthrop's company, a print- 
ing-press was set up at Cambridge. In the earliest 
times, it is probable that children were instructed 
only at their homes. Boston had a public 
school as early as the fifth year from its set- 
tlement. New Haven, in its fourth year, set up 
a free school to be maintained " out of the „,_ 
common stock of the town." Hartford had 
made similar provision still earliei*. A very ^^^' 
few years only were to pass, before, in every town 

VOL. I. 19 


of Massachusetts, the means of useful instruction 
were provided by law for every child. 

In the summer before the confederation of the 
colonies, the first Commencement of Harvard 


College was held. Nine young men, hav- 
ing been four years under its tuition, were then 
admitted to the first academical degree, and " per- 
formed their acts so as gave good proof of their 
proficiency in the tongues and arts." The course 
of study had been adopted from the contempo- 
raneous usage of the English universities. The 
beginning of the institution was not auspicious, 
by reason of the misconduct of Nathaniel Eaton, 
the person first placed at its head. But he was 
soon deposed; and his successor, the learned and 
excellent Dunster, inaugurated a new era of pros- 
perity. Dunster had been educated at Emmanuel 
College, Cambridge, and had afterwards been a 
Non-conformist minister in England. Under his 
administration Harvard College acquired such re- 
pute, that, in several instances, youth of opulent 
families in the parent country were sent over for 
their education. 

The military force of the colonies was a militia, 
■which, in the early period, consisted of infantry 
alone, except that there were a few cannoneers in 
the forts. Against the natives field-artillery would 
have been of little use ; nor could it have been 
worked to advantage, while the country was wild. 
All males between the ages of sixteen and sixty 
were enrolled, and were required to be provided 


with arms and ammunition ; at their own expense, 
if they had the means; if not, at the expense of 
their towns. The arms of private soldiers were 
pikes, muskets, and swords. The muskets had 
matchlocks or flintlocks, and to each one there was 
" a pair of bandoleers, or pouches, for powder and 
bullets," and a stick called a rest^ for use in taking 
aim. The pikes were ten feet in length, besides the 
spear at the end. For defensive armor corselets 
were worn, and coats quilted with cotton. It does 
not appear that there was any attempt at uniform- 
ity in dress. 

The unit of the organization was the trainband, 
consisting of not fewer than fifty-four men, and not 
more than two hundred. It had twice as many 
musketeers as pikemen, the latter being selected 
for their superior stature. The commissioned 
officers of a band were a captain, a lieutenant, 
and an ensign. They carried swords, partisans, 
otherwise called leading-staves, and (if they chose) 
pistols. The sergeants bore halberds. Company 
trainings took place, at first, every Saturday ; then, 
every month ; then, eight times a year. They were 
begun and closed with prayer. The only martial 
music was that of the drum. 

In the year after the confederation, Massachu- 
setts had twenty-six trainbands, and " a very gal- 
lant horse troop." The bands were distributed 
into regiments ; a lieutenant, and under him a 
sergeant-major, commanded the regiment of each 
county ; and over the whole force of the colony 


was a Sergeant- Major General, subordinate only 
to the Governor. 

Industry had now taken the forms which are 
common in a settled social state. Agriculture, 
though never a lucrative employment in the greater 
part of New England, yielded returns sufficient to 
constitute an important resource for a people so 
isolated from more fertile regions. To the invalu- 
able maize, or Indian-corn, — nutritious, hardy, and 
of a bountiful increase, — the planters soon recon- 
ciled themselves as a substitute for wheat, to which 
the soil and temperature were less propitious. The 
native grasses were coarse and innutritive ; but it 
took only a few seasons to cover the champaign 
lands with a rich growth of the herbage of Eng- 
land. Barley, rye, OEfts, and pease were success- 
fully cultivated, and most of the garden fruits 
and vegetables common in the mother country. 
Squashes, pumpkins, and beans were indigenous 
to the soil. The apple, the pear, the cherry, the 
plum, and the quince were found to take kindly 
to their new home. Poultry and swine, while they 
were fed at little cost, multiplied in great abun- 
dance ; and as pasturage was extended and im- 
proved, goats in the first place, and then sheep, 
horses, and neat cattle became numerous. 

Manufactures of necessary articles were early 
undertaken with some success. Before the con- 
federation, the spinning and knitting of thread and 
yarn by the women at their homes was fol- 
lowed by the weaving of woollen and cotton 


fabrics, introduced by a few families who came 
from Yorkshire, and built up a town at Rowley, 
adjoining Ipswich. At first this manufacture was 
stimulated by protective laws, which soon however 
were found to be unnecessary, and were repealed, 
so remunerative had the business become. The 
great demand for salt was promptly and profitably 
met, so easy was the process of obtaining it from 
sea-water. In the third year after Winthrop's 
arrival, water-mills were erected in Plymouth and 
in Massachusetts. Windmills had been in earlier 
use. From the beginning of the settlements there 
was ample employment and good pay for the 
brickmaker, the mason, the carpenter, the tanner, 
the currier, the cordwainer, the sawyer, and the 

The woods were a source of wealth. Boards, 
clapboards, shingles, and staves and hoops for bar- 
rels, cost nothing but labor, and commanded a 
ready sale. The pine forests yielded turpentine, 
pitch, and tar. Furs and peltry, obtained from the 
natives by barter for provisions and for articles of 
foreign manufacture, were yet another rich resource 
for the export trade. 

Along the seaboard of New England, as fast as 
it was occupied by settlers, one of the chief em- 
ployments was fishing, especially the taking of the 
cod and the mackerel. A hogshead of mackerel 
was worth three pounds and twelve shillings, and 
three men in a boat could catch ten hogsheads in 
a week. In the second year before the confeder- 


ation, the mariners of Massachusetts *' followed 
the fishing so well, that there was above three hun- 
dred thousand dry fish sent to the market." 

Fishing led to ship -building. In the second 
year after Winthrop's arrival a vessel of a hundred 
tons' burden, and in the next year another of double 
that measurement, were launched on Mystic River. 
Hugh Peter, who had energy for thrift and for busi- 
ness as well as for politics and religion, " pro- 
cured some to join for building a ship at 
Salem of three hundred tons." The year before 
the confederation, a writer in Boston informed his 
English friends : " Besides many boats, shallops, 
hoys, lighters, pinnaces, we are in a way of building 
ships of a hundred, two hundred, three hundred, 
four hundred tons. Five of them are already at 
sea ; many more in hand at this present ; we be- 
ing much encouraged herein by reason of the plenty 
and excellence of our timber for that purpose, and 
seeing all the materials will be had there in short 

Coasting voyages to the Dutch settlement on 
Hudson's River, and to the English in Virginia, were 
soon succeeded by adventures in foreign commerce. 
In the sixth year of Boston, a vessel built there 
" came from Bermuda with thirty thousand weight 
of potatoes, and store of oranges and limes." Then 
cotton was brought from the West Indies, to the 
great satisfaction of the spinners and weavers at 
Rowley. In the year of the confederation, ships 
built in Massachusetts carried " many passengers 


and great store of beaver " to London, being fol- 
lowed on their way by " many prayers of the 
churches." In the next year, a Boston vessel 
brought wine, fruit, sugar, and ginger from Tene- 
riffe, in exchange for corn ; and the Trial carried 
from Boston a freight of fish to Bilbao, and came 
home from Malaga, "laden with wine, fruit, oil, 
iron, and wool, which was of great advantage to 
the country, and gave encouragement to trade." 

Trade was embarrassed for a time by the insuffi- 
cient supply of a circulating medium. The settlers 
brought over a considerable amount of coin, but 
most of it soon went back to England in payment 
for supplies. The first trading with the natives 
was by barter, to which, more or less, the use of 
wampum succeeded. Indian-corn and beaver had 
to take the place of money ; and corn, at the market 
price, was in Massachusetts made a legal tender, 
except in cases where there had been an express 
stipulation to pay coin or beaver. Corn and other 
produce, at prescribed rates, were received in pay- 
ment of the public taxes. At one time bullets 
were made a legal tender, as the equivalent of 

From the outset the towns put themselves to a 
liberal expense for roads. Ferries were early estab- 
lished, and bridges thrown over narrow streams. 
Of course, the means of convenient communica- 
tion between the settlements had to be gradually 
created ; but, on the whole, the inquirer is sur- 
prised to find how rapidly they grew. Added to 


the craving for companionship, there was a con- 
scientious sense of the obligation of mutual coun- 
sel and mutual defence, to be secured only by 
facilities for travel. 

The architecture of public buildings was alto- 
gether unambitious. We have a partial description 
of the primitive meeting-house of Dedham, which 
was the first or second inland town of Massachu. 
setts. This place of worship, for a town founded 
under highly favorable auspices, was thirty-six feet 
long, twenty feet wide, and twelve feet high " in 
the stud;" and the roof was thatched with long 
grass. It may be thought singular that we have 
no positive knowledge respecting the construction 
of the dwellings of the generality of the settlers. 
It is probable, but not certain, that they first erected 
log-houses, like those commonly used, at the pres- 
ent day, in the new settlements of America. At 
all events, they at an early period allowed them- 
selves to gratify, in full proportion to their means, 
that taste for comfortable habitations which they 
had brought with them, so intimately associated 
with the English feeling for home. Frame-houses, 
with brick chimneys, and lathed and plastered 
within, very soon superseded, in common use, the 
rude shelters which had at first sufficed. Nor were 
there wanting mansions of more pretension. At 
the early time when Coddington went from Bos- 
ton to found his colony, he had already built there 
a brick house, which, wh6n old, he still remembered 
as a token of his departed magnificence. The New 


Haven people were thought to have " laid out too 
much of their stocks and estates in building of fine 
and stately houses ; " and Isaac AUerton, who went 
among them from Plymouth, " built a grand house 
on the creek, with four porches." The house of the 
Reverend Mr. Whitefield, the first minister of 
Guilford, remains almost unaltered, to attest the 
resources and taste of its proprietor. When Gor- 
ton and his company were conducted to jg^g 
Boston, " the Governor [Winthrop] caused 
the prisoners to be brought before him in his hall, 
where was a great assembly." 

Nor were the furniture and other appointments 
of rich men's dwellings deficient in a correspond- 
ing luxury. There is an inventory of the property 
of the third wife of John Winthrop, — a widow 
when she married him, — which indicates a sump- 
tuous domestic establishment. At Governor Ea- 
ton's death, when money vA'^as worth three times as 
much as now, his wearing apparel was appraised 
at fifty pounds sterling, and his plate at a hundred 
and fifty pounds ; and " Turkey carpet," " cushions 
of Turkey work," and " tapestry coverings," were 
among the articles of show which had helped him 
to maintain " a port in some measure answerable 
to his place." In the early inventories of furniture, 
no forks appear; but, as a fact correlative to this, 
there was a great affluence of napery. Such 
laws as have been referred to, prohibiting extrava- 
gance in personal adornment, point to one form of 
the taste and ambition of that period. But the 


dress of the generality of the people must needs 
have been plain. The supply of homespun woollen 
cloth and " linen fustian dimities " was not abun- 
dant, and some use was made of " cordovan, deer, 
seal, and moose skins especially for ser- 
vants' clothing." 

As to diet, the necessity for a multiplication of 
flocks for wool, and of herds for draught and for 
milk, forbade a free consumption of butcher's meat 
in New England in the primitive age. Game and 
fish supplied, to a considerable extent, the want of 
animal food. Swine and poultry were in common 
use earlier than other kinds of flesh-meat. In the 
earliest time, wheaten bread was not so uncom- 
mon as it afterwards became ; but various prepa- 
rations of Indian-corn came immediately into use. 
Brown breads a mixture of two parts of the meal 
of this grain with one part of rye, has continued, 
until far into the present century, to be the bread 
of the great body of the people. Hasti/ pudding; 
consisting of the boiled meal of this grain or of rye, 
and eaten with molasses and butter or milk, was a 
common article of diet. Succotash, composed of 
beans boiled with Indian-corn in the milk, was a 
dish adopted from the natives, as were other prep- 
arations of corn, named samp and hominy. Indian- 
corn meal, boiled or baked, and sweetened with 
molasses, as soon as molasses began to come from 
the West Indies to Boston, was Indian pudding 
in its primitive condition. The dish called baked 
beans commemorates the time when it was worth 


while to make the most of the commonest vegeta- 
ble, by flavoring it with the flesh of the common- 
est animal. For considerably more than a century 
the people of New England, ignorant of tea and 
cofiee, made their morning and evening repast on 
boiled Indian meal and milk, or on porridge or 
broth, made of pease or beans, and seasoned by 
being boiled with salted beef or pork. The regu- 
lar dinner on Saturdays (not on Fridays, which 
would have been Popish) was of salted codfish ; 
and so tenacious are such customs, that down to a 
time very recent, at ceremonious feasts in Boston 
on Saturdays, the dunfish, boiled between two 
others for the greater delicacy, never failed to ap- 
pear at one end of the table. Beer, which was 
brewed in families, was accounted scarcely less 
than a necessary of life, and the orchards soon 
yielded a bountiful provision of cider. Wine and 
rum found a ready market, as soon as foreign 
voyages supplied them. Tobacco and legislation 
had a resolute conflict, in which the latter at last 
gave way. 

Some accessories of social intercourse, elsewhere 
relished, were here abjured. The sad experience 
of his native country had taught the fugitive Puri- 
tan a lesson which he laid religiously to heart, if 
he misconceived or went beyond it in some partic- 
ulars. All persons were forbidden so much as to 
possess cards, dice, or other instruments of gaming. 
Dancing was prohibited, not only as inconsistent 
with dignity of character, but because of its being 


attended with provocatives to licentiousness. From 
the absence of instruments of music from the in- 
ventories, it is unavoidable to infer either that the 
art was not much relished, or that the practice of it 
was not approved. 

There was great punctiliousness in the applica- 
tion of both official and conventional titles. Only 
a small number of persons of the best condition 
(always including ministers and their wives) had 
the designation Mr. or Mrs. prefixed to their 
names. Goodman and g-oodwife were the appro- 
priate addresses of persons above the condition of 
servitude, and below that of gentility. Most of 
the Deputies are designated in the records by their 
names only, without a prefix, unless they were 
deacons of the church or officers in the militia, in 
which latter case they received the title of their 
rank, in all the degrees from general to corporal. 

The language written and spoken by the early 
colonists could be no other than the language 
which they had been accustomed to hear and use ; 
and that was the common English of the realm, 
with such provincial peculiarities as belonged to 
the places of their English homes, and with the 
conventional phraseology of their religious sect. 
As to not a few words and phrases which have 
been supposed to be of New England origin, be- 
cause, when the comparison came to be made, they 
were not current in the mother country, it is cer- 
tain that at the time of the emigration they be- 
longed to the staple of the English tongue, and 

SPEECH. 301 

have been preserved in New England, while they 
have gone into disuse on the other side of the 
water. The vocal utterance of the New-Englander 
is criticised for an ungraceful nasal peculiarity. 
Perhaps this is an effect of climate. Probably it 
is one of his Puritan heirlooms. 



The first year of the great civil war in England 

1543 had just expired, when the first meeting of 

^P'* "*- the Commissioners of the United Colonies 

was held at Boston. Several important subjects 

were ready for their consideration. One was an 

alarm from the Narragansett Indians. 

After the overthrow of the Pequots, the Narra- 
gansetts were the most powerful of the native 
tribes near to the colonies ; and next to them in 
numbers and strength were the Mohegans, whose 
hunting-grounds were further to the west, towards 
the River Connecticut. Canonicus and his nephew 
Miantonomo were the Narragansett chiefs. Their 
relations with the colonists cannot be said to have 
been hitherto on the whole unfriendly, though 
Canonicus at an early period had sent a threat- 
ening message to Plymouth, and the conduct of 
Miantonomo had sometimes occasioned uneasiness 
at Boston. Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, was 
on amicable terms with the planters on Connect- 
icut River. Jealous of each other's power, the Nar- 
ragansetts and Mohegans were always on the verge 
of a conflict. 


Three years before the confederation, a report had 
come to Massachusetts that Miantonomo ^^ 
was treating with the Mohawks with a view "'""*■ 
to a joint attack upon the English settlements. 
Conferences held with him in his own country, and 
afterwards at Boston, afforded but partial satisfac- 
tion. Two years more had passed of suspicious 
amity, when the alarm was renewed. Friend- j^^ 
ly Indians gave information at New Haven ^'^'' 
and at Hartford that Miantonomo had planned a 
general massacre of the English. The two west- 
ern colonies would have immediately gone to war 
with him, and solicited Masssachusetts to join 
them in it with a large force. But that colony, 
less exposed and more calm, held back from so 
critical a step. 

Miantonomo was sent for, and came to Boston. 
He denied the imputed conspiracy, alleging it to 
be a calumny of Uncas. The charge did not seem 
to the Magistrates to be made out ; but he had 
scarcely been dismissed when urgent letters came 
from Connecticut, and others from Plymouth, in- 
sisting upon the reality of the plot, and the neces- 
sity of immediate measures of counteraction. On 
his way home, Miantonomo killed one of his attend- 
ants, whom, for participation in an attempt to 
assassinate Uncas, he had engaged to surrender to 
that chief. This was interpreted as a precaution 
on his part against further discoveries. But the 
Magistrates of Massachusetts were still uncon- 
vinced of the necessity for war, and repeated to 


the other colonies their advice to practise longer 

A new occasion of disquiet arose out of a con- 
nection formed by Miantonomo with some dis- 
affected English borderers. One of the quarrels 
so frequently occurring in the Narragansett planta 
tions, had lately taken place at Providence. A party 
of the associates of Roger Williams had established 
themselves on the west side of Narragansett Bay, 
north of the River Pawtuxet, and were there so in- 
commoded by some lawless persons who came and 
sat down among them, that, for want of any nearer 
authority competent to give them redress, they 
were fain to apply themselves to that of Massa- 
chusetts Bay. In a petition to the Magistrates of 
jQ^j that colony, they professed to give " true in- 
Nov. 17. j.gjjjgg,-,gg of the insolent and riotous car- 
riages of Samuel Gorton and his company, which 
came from the island of Aquetnet, together with 
John Greene and Francis "Weston." The petition, 
signed by thirteen persons, complained of various 
acts of violence and disorder on the part of the un- 
mannerly intruders, and concluded by entreating 
the Massachusetts people, " of gentle courtesy, and 
for the preservation of humanity and mankind," to 
"lend a neighbor-like helping hand," and abate 
the nuisance. They received for answer, that, while 
they belonged to no recognized jurisdiction, no gov- 
ernment was authorized to interfere in their behalf. 
If they chose to attach themselves to Massachusetts 
or to Plymouth, the case would be different. 


Of the four disturbers complained of by name 
in the petition, three were afterwards especially 
conspicuous in a long series of events. Randall 
Holden had been one of the original confederates 
with Coddington, and then one of those who 
helped to displace him from the government of 
Portsmouth. John Greene had been at Providence 
almost from its beginning. On a visit to Boston, he 
had been fined twenty pounds for seditious ^^~ 
discourse, and had been sent away, with an ^*p'- ^^' 
injunction to keep away for the future. Samuel 
Gorton had come from England to Boston during 
the Antinomian controversy, and thence had passed 
to Plymouth. Here, quarrelling with the jggg 
minister, and reviling the Magistrates, he ^^• 
was punished with fine and banishment. He 
withdrew to the new settlement on Rhode Isl- 
and, busied himself in the movement there for the 
deposition of Coddington, and for his part jg^ ^^ 
in a later dispute was sentenced by the ^^*^- 
court to be whipped. Next he turned up at Prov- 
idence, for the annoyance of Williams and his 

The petitioners for protection against these 
troublesome interlopers took the hint which had 
been given them. At their request they were re- 
ceived under the government of Massachusetts, and 
the Magistrates of that colony sent word to j^^ 
Gorton and his party that they must desist ^''^■^■ 
from violent proceedings, but should have in the 
colonial courts a fair trial of any claim which they 

VOL.. I. 90 


asserted. This was a month after that visit of 
Miantonomo to Boston, which was last men- 

To this message a long answer was returned, 
composed in the most ambitious style of 
insulting invective and menace. The writ- 
ers, judging it not prudent to await, so near at 
hand, the rebound of their defiance, removed to 
jg^ the southern side of the River Pawtuxet, 
Jan. 12. ^here, at a place called Shawomet, they 
bought lands of Miantonomo. 

The right of Miantonomo to dispose of the 
tract then came into question. Pomham, a petty 
chief whose followers dwelt upon it, declared 
that the land belonged to him, and that he was 
not Miantonomo's vassal. Sacononoco, another 
sachem of Pawtuxet, made for himself the same 
pretension of independence, and the two chiefs 
came to Boston, where they asked to submit 


themselves and their lands to the govern- 
ment and the protection of Massachusetts. Their 
interpreter was Benedict Arnold, of Providence, 
one of the recent petitioners for protection against 
the misconduct of Gorton and his companions. 

A sense of interest as well as of justice made it 
the policy of Massachusetts to protect the Indians 
in their property, for trickery or roughness towards 
them on the part of any of the white race would 
provoke an undiscriminating resentment towards 
all. The Magistrates wrote " to Gorton and his 
company, to let them know what the sachems had 


complained of, and how they had tendered them- 
selves to come under the jurisdiction of Massachu- 
setts, and therefore, if they had anything to allege 
against it, they should come or send to the next 
Court." To this communication no reply was 
made. Miantonomo was summoned to Boston, 
and " being demanded, in open Court, before divers 
of his own men and other Indians, whether he had 
any interest in the said two sachems as his sub- 
jects, he could prove none." The arrangements 
of Massachusetts with the two sachems for 

1 • 11 • June 22. 

acceptmg their allegiance^ were then con- 

In the disturbed state of mind in which Mian- 
tonomo now turned his face homewards from 
Boston, it would be fruitless to guess which one 
of various passions prevailed. A month had not 
passed since his departure, when news was brought 
that with a force of several hundred followers he 
had suddenly fallen upon his rival Uncas. 
The Mohegan warriors were not more than 
half as numerous, but they obtained a signal vic- 
tory, at the cost, as was usual in Indian pitched 
battles, of very little blood. Miantonomo was 
taken prisoner, and conducted to Hartford. There, 
at his own request, he was left in the custody of 
the English, as the captive, however, of Uncas, 
to be disposed of by him according as he should 
be advised or permitted by the Commissioners. 
Uncas waited for this decision of theirs, in conse- 
quence of a message which he received from Gor- 


ton, threatening him with the vengeance of the 
English unless he should release his prisoner. 

These important transactions claimed the atten- 
tion of the central government at its first meeting. 
Whatever were the new revf^lations now made, 
their import was such that the Commissioners — 
and among them Winthrop, who had been reso- 
lutely averse to such a conclusion — consid- 
ered it to be " clearly discovered that there 
was a general conspiracy among the Indians to 
cut off all the English, and that Miantonomo was 
the head and contriver of it." They further found 
it " sufficiently evidenced that Miantonomo and 
his confederates had sundry ways manifested their 
enmity, and treacherously plotted and practised 
against the life of Uncas." By the laws of Indian 
warfare, the prisoner's life was forfeit to his cap- 
tor. " These things being duly weighed and consid- 
ered," the conclusion, confirmed by the unanimous 
voice of " five of the most judicious elders," was 
this: " The Commissioners apparently see that 
Uncas cannot be safe while Miantonomo lives, but 
that either by secret treachery or open force his 
life will still be in danger. Wherefore they think 
he may justly put such a false and blood-thirsty 
enemy to death." Miantonomo accordingly came 
to his end by a sudden blow with a hatchet from 
the brother of Uncas, in the presence of some 
Englishmen who were charged to protect him 
from torture or other outrage. 

Anticipating the effect of this transaction upon 


his tribe, the Commissioners sent them a message 
of warning and conciliation, recommending at the 
same time to the several colonies to make careful 
military preparations for what might follow. The 
General Court of Massachusetts was in session. 
The irritation of their correspondence with the 
renegade English friends of the Narragansetts was 
recent. The danger of mischief from that quarter 
had to be watched. The General Court issued a 
warrant to the settlers at Shawomet to ap- 

^ Sept. 12. 

pear in Boston at its next meeting, and make 
answer to Pomham's complaint of the intrusion 
upon his lands. The summons brought an abusive 
reply, addressed by Randall Holden, in the name 
of the company, " To the Great and Hon- 
ored Idol General, now set up in the Massa- 
chusetts." It insulted the government with copious 
ribaldry, and tempted them with vainglorious defi- 
ance. " If your sword be drawn, ours is girt upon 
our thigh; if you present a gun, make haste to 
give the first fire; for we are come to put fire upon 
the earth, and it is our desire to have it speedily 

The Commissioners had not left Boston, when 
this letter arrived. The Magistrates consulted 
them, and were advised to proceed in the matter 
"according to what they should find just, and the 
rest of the jurisdictions would approve and con- 
cur." They wrote immediately to the Shaw- 

Sept 19 

omet people that they intended to send com- 
missioners to inquire into and settle the matters 


in controversy upon the spot, and that the commis- 
sioners, for their protection, would be attended with 
an armed guard. 

Escorted by forty soldiers, the commissioners 

proceeded upon their errand. At a little distance 

from Shawomet, they received a written 

Sept. 28. . 1 ., » , . 

warnmg not to advance, on peril of their 
lives. They answered with an assurance of their 
wish to bring the dispute to a fair and friendly 
settlement with the malecontents, whom, however, 
in case of a failure so to do, they should have to 
" look upon as men prepared for slaughter." 

They pushed on rapidly, and blockaded the 
settlement. Of the party that held it, one man, 
Greene, escaped by flight ; the rest, ten in number, 
surrendered themselves, no life having been lost, 
and were led away prisoners through Providence 
to Boston. There they were put in prison, to be 
kept till the Court should meet. 

What should be done with them ? Their mis- 
chief-making was intolerable ; but where was the 
law against it ? Massachusetts had not long ago 
undertaken to administer justice according to a 
written code, and little time was required to create 
in Er)glishmen a sense of the sanctity of the special 
prescribed law. No small part of the offensiveness 
of the persons now in custody, and of the anxiety 
which they occasioned, consisted in their threat of 
an " appeal to the Honorable State of England." 
But there was no law in Massachusetts against 
such an appeal, nor could such a law prudently be 


made. For their transactions with the Narragan- 
setts the prisoners might have been indicted under 
the twelfth article of the Capital Laws ; but to take 
that course would have been to create a panic in 
respect to the designs of the Indians. The charge 
upon which it was resolved to arraign them was 
that of being " blasphemous enemies to the true 
religion of our Lord Jesus Christ and all his holy 
ordinances, and also to all civil authority among 
the people of God, and particularly in the jurisdic- 
tion of Massachusetts." 

There was abundant proof to convict them of 
the latter of the two offences charged, but the pen- 
alty assigned to it by law was inadequate to the 
exigency. A conviction for blasphemy would meet 
the need. Gorton and six of his comrades 

Not. 3. 

were found guilty of that crime, and nar- 
rowly escaped a sentence of death. They were 
confined in as many different towns, at hard labor 
in irons. Of the remaining three, one was bound 
over for a future appearance, should it be required. 
Another, who was found to be stupid, was bidden 
to keep himself quiet at Watertown. The third 
was released, having " denied that he set his hand 
to the first book." A party was sent to Shawomet, 
" to fetch so many of their cattle as might defray 
the charges." 

After four or five months, the prisoners were re- 
leased by an order of the General Court, -^q^ 
which at the same time threatened them ^*"'»^- 
with death, if, after fourteen days, they should be 


found "in the Massachusetts, or in or near Provi- 
dence, or any of the lands of Pomham or Sacono- 
moco." To await their friends, as they said, some 
of them met at Boston, whence a warrant from 
the Governor enjoined them to depart within two 
hours. They reassembled at Shawomet, whence 
thev wrote to Winthrop to inquire whether 

Harch26. ' i 

the General Court could have meant that 
place by " the lands of Pomham and Saconomoco." 
Being informed. by him that such was the fact, 

they retired to Rhode Island, to nurse their 

April L '' 

ill temper under the government of Cod- 

The next step showed their spirit, their capacity, 
and that power of theirs for mischief which it had 
been thought so important to disarm. Six or seven 

of them passed over to the main-land, and 
^ ' obtained from Canonicus and from Pessacus 
(brother and successor of Miantonomo) a treaty of 
absolute cession of the Narragansett people and ter- 
ritory " into the protection, care, and government 
of that worthy and royal prince, Charles, King of 
Great Britain and Ireland, his heirs and successors 
forever." In this instrument of surrender, — com- 
posed, it needs not be said, by English hands, — the 
savage chiefs declared that they were moved to it 
by the hope of obtaining the King's protection 
against " some of his Majesty's pretended subjects,'' 
who had given them "just cause of jealousy and 
suspicion;" and they empowered Samuel Gorton, 
and his friends Holden, Wickes, and Warner, to be 


their " lawful attorneys and commissioners " to 
attend to " the safe custody, careful conveyance, 
and declaration thereof unto his Grace." 

Under the same dictation, Canonicus and Pes- 
sacus addressed a letter to the General Court of 
Massachusetts, in which they threatened to 
revenge on Uncas the fate of Miantonomo. 
It was presently followed by a letter from John 
Warner, who announced himself as Secre- 

, ^ . . . June 20. 

tary to " the Commissioners put m trust 
for the further publication of the solemn act" of 
the Narragansetts in their cession to the King, and 
threatened the Massachusetts people with the ven- 
geance of the King and of the Mohawks, should 
they presume to interfere. The General Court sent 
two messages to the Narragansett sachems, 
to advise them to be quiet, and detach them- ^ 
selves from their pernicious English friends. The 
envoys were rudely received. Canonicus would 
scarcely speak to them, and Pessacus persisted in 
the threat of a renewal of hostilities against Uncas. 
He did not, however, carry out his resolution, 
though the uneasiness which it occasioned was not 
relieved till after the next meeting of the Federal 
Commissioners. An embassy sent by them 
persuaded the discontented chiefs to agree 
with Uncas to "propound their several grievances 
to the Commissioners." On a hearing, it was found 
impossible to accomplish more at pres^ent than a 
postponement of the dispute. The Narragansett 
chiefs were brought to agree that they would 9.b- 


stain from hostilities against Uncas till after the 
next corn- planting, and that, subsequently to that 
time, they would give thirty days' notice to the 
Governor of Massachusetts or of Connecticut be- 
fore beginning any war. Gorton and his party 
continued to live unmolested upon Rhode Island. 
They were dangerous persons, but to leave them 
at large was a course less embarrassing than appar- 
ently any other would have been. Their power 
of annoyance was far from being exhausted. It 
continued to be exerted for many years. 

The relations with borderers and Indians were 
not the only relations which the progress of events 
had summoned Massachusetts to oversee. The 
New England Confederacy was the strongest power 
on the Atlantic seaboard of America. Virtually, —' 
almost formally, — Massachusetts was at the head 
of the Confederacy; and, with a sense of this new 
importance, it was not unnatural that she should 
assume a position of authority in respect to Euro- 
pean colonies not embraced in the alliance. The 
New Haven people had projected the estab- 
lishment of a factory on the Delaware, near 
to the site which has been mentioned as being ear- 
lier occupied by a few Swedes. The visitors from 
New Haven were maltreated and expelled by the 
Swedish governor, and that colony laid its com- 
plaint before the Commissioners of the Confed- 
eracy. A letter written under their direction by 
1643. Winthrop to the Swedes brought a reply 
^*P'- with " large expressions of their respect to 


the English," and particularly to Massachusetts, 
and a promise to refrain from molesting any future 
visitors who should bring authority from the Com- 
missioners. The Dutch governor at New Amster- 
dam complained to the Commissioners of 
encroachments on the part of Connecticut, "^^ 
and inquired whether by taking his remedy into his 
own hands, he should involve himself in a quarrel 
with the United Colonies. Winthrop, under the 
direction of the Commissioners, replied by 

' ^ •' Sept. 21. 

a counter- complaint, and added, "as we 
will not wrong others, so we may not desert our 
confederates in any just cause." The Dutchmen 
were presently so much pressed by their Indian 
neighbors, that, instead of further reclamations 
from New Haven, they were fain to apply to that 
colony for an auxiliary force of a hundred men. 
The request was declined, one of the reasons 
assigned for the refusal being derived from a 
provision of the Articles of Confederation. 

With her French neighbors, on the other side of 
her territory, Massachusetts had more communica- 
tion. There were two companies of Frenchmen 
employed in trading for furs with the eastern In- 
dians. The head of the one was named D' Aulnay ; 
of the other, La Tour. The former held posts on 
the Penobscot, and at Port Royal (now Annapolis) 
and La Heve (now New Dublin) in Nova Scotia. 
La Tour had fortified himself at St. John, at the 
mouth of the river of that name, in what is now 
New Brunswick. He fell under the displeasure of 


the French court, and D'Aulnay received instruc- 
„„ tions to arrest him and send him home to 


Feb. 13. Prance. D'Auhiay was a Catholic. His 
rival, professing to be a Protestant, hoped that on 
that ground he might obtain aid at Boston, and 

1343 came thither for the purpose, offering as fur- 
junei2. ^i^gj. inducement a free trade with his posts. 
The Magistrates told him that they were forbidden 
by their obligations to the Confederacy to, contrib- 
ute the assistance he desired; but they gave him 
leave to charter vessels and enlist volunteers. 

He hired four ships and enlisted some seventy 
men, and with them obtained some advan- 

"^* " tage over his enemy. D'Aulnay went to 
France, to strengthen himself with new credentials, 

1644. and La Tour came again to Bostoi}, on the 

''"'^' same business as before. Opinions were 
now much divided respecting his suit; and after 
some weeks' negotiation he was dismissed, with 
nothing better than unprofitable demonstrations of 
respect. He had scarcely left Boston, before his 
wife arrived there. She had come from London, 
with a cargo of supplies for St. John. At Boston, 
she sued the ship-master for a breach of contract 
in carrying her out of her way, and obtained a 
verdict. The other party attempted to delay the 
execution of it, by offering security for the pay- 
ment, if " the Parliament of England did not call 
the cause before themselves ; " — a proposal which 
"was very ill-taken by the Court, as making way 
for appeals, etc., into England." 


While La Tour's wife was in Boston, an envoy 
from his rival came thither, — "one Marie, sup- 
posed to be a friar, but habited like a gentleman." 
He talked with the Governor in French, and with 
the rest of the Magistrates in Latin. He produced 
three papers; namely, a certified copy of the King's 
commission to D'Aulnay; a verification of a sen- 
tence against La Tour "as a rebel and traitor;" 
and an order for his and his wife's arrest and con- 
veyance to France. " He complained of the wrong 
done by our men the last year in assisting of La 
Tour, etc, and proffered terras of peace and amity." 
In the sequel of the negotiation, the Magis- 
trates agreed to present for the approbation 
of the Commissioners, at their next meeting, a 
treaty, which was to be binding meanwhile, "for 
firm peace" and free commerce between the juris- 
dictions of Massachusetts and D'Aulnay. 

The Magistrates had fallen into an error in per- 
mitting La Tour to enlist volunteers in Boston, 
The Commissioners had expressed their sense of 
it, and had at the same time asserted for their own 
body a great power by voting " that no jurisdiction 
within the Confederacy should permit any volunta- 
ries to go forth in a warlike way against any peo- 
ple whatsoever, without order and direction of the 
Commissioners of the several jurisdictions." The 
proceeding had unsettled the politics of Massa- 
chusetts. Bellingham's party, though he prudently 
kept himself in the background, revived its opposi- 
tion to Winthrop. Three Magistrates, namely, 


Saltonstall of Watertown, and Bradstreet and 
1643 Syraonds of Ipswich, with their townsman, 
July 14. Nathaniel Ward, and three ministers, Na- 
thaniel Rogers and John Norton of Ipswich, and 
Ezekiel Rogers of Rowley, addressed a joint re- 
monstrance to the Governor. At the next annual 
1544 election, Winthrop was let down into the 
^^y^- office of Deputy-Governor. The oppo^^ition, 
not strong enough to choose Bellingham, conferred 
the highest office on Endicott, who, though never 
failing to treat Winthrop with affectionate respect, 
dissented from his recent policy. Bradstreet and 
William Hathorne, the latter a young man now 
rising into notice, were at the same time appointed 
to succeed Winthrop and Dudley as Federal Com- 
rnissioners ; and Saltonstall was designated to be 
Bradstreet's substitute, should the latter be de- 
tained at home. 

Nor were these the most serious symptoms of 
disaffection from the ancient guides of opinion and 
policy. The Essex towns, especially, had become 
jealous of the influence of Boston. They called 
into question the hitherto established doctrine, that, 
when the General Court was not sitting, the Magis- 
trates were the supreme government; and they 
prevailed to carry through the House of Deputies 
" a commission whereby power was given to seven 
of the Magistrates and three of the Deputies and 
Mr. Ward (sometime pastor of Ipswich, and still 
a preacher) to order all affairs of the common- 
wealth in the vacancy of the General Court." The 


Magistrates refused their assent to this measure, 
as being no less than a revolutionary deposition of 
them from the authority vested in their office by 
the charter. The Deputies persisted. The dis- 
pute was still unsettled when the time which had 
been agreed upon for a prorogation of the Court 
arrived. In the recess, the Magistrates continued 
to exercise their functions as usual. When the 
Court met again, the ministers, invited to give 
their opinion, unanimously advised that " the 

,, . . Oct. 30. 

Magistrates are, by patent and election of 
the people, the standing council of the common- 
wealth in the vacancy of the General Court, and 
have power accordingly to act in all cases subject 
to government, according to the said patent and 
the laws of this jurisdiction." The fever now was 
over. Saltonstall was surly, and Belli ngham did 
not cease to be factious. But their associates in 
the Magistracy were undisturbed in their places, 
and " most of the Deputies were now well satisfied." 

While Massachusetts held such an attitude as 
has been described towards native tribes and Euro- 
pean colonists, it is still more interesting to ob- 
serve that which she assumed towards the mother 

A year after the confederation of the four colo- 
nies, and four years after the meeting of the Long 
Parliament, the General Court of Massa- 
chusetts passed an order in the follow^ing *^ 
terms : " That what person soever shall by word, 
writing, or action, endeavor to disturb our peace, 


directly or indirectly, by drawing a party, under 
pretence that he is for the King of England, and 
such as adjoin with him, against the Parliament, 
shall be accounted as an offender of an high nature 
against this commonwealth, and to be proceeded 
with, either capitally or otherwise, according to the 
quality and degree of his offence." Massachusetts 
w^as not with the King against the Commons of 

But neither was she for the Commons, without 
discrimination. A ship from Bristol, then held for 
the King, was lying in Boston harbor, when an 
armed vessel from London came in, and summoned 
the master to surrender, which he did. The con- 
signee loudly protested ; but the London captain 
produced his commission from the Parlia- 
ment's admiral, the Earl of Warwick, and, 
their sympathy with Parliament prevailing, the 
Magistrates decided in his favor. But it was not 
without misgivings of their own, and loud remon- 
strance breaking out around them ; and presently 
a second occasion of the same kind called for a 
revisal of the judgment. A ship from Dartmouth, 
in " the King's service," was threatened in 
Boston harbor by one Richardson, com- 
mander of a vessel from London, bearing the com- 
mission of Lord Warwick. In the absence of 
Endicott, who was at his home in Salem, Win- 
throp sent an order to Richardson to come on 
shore forthwith, which he tried to excuse himself 
from doing. A shot from the shore battery, which 


cut his rigging, and the sight of boats with forty 
Boston men pulling from the north wharf for the 
Dartmouth vessel, brought him to a better mind, 
and he " came ashore, and acknowledged his error, 
and his sorrow for what he had done," 

In short, it was now meet that neither King nor 
Parliament should meddle with anything under the 
protection of Massachusetts. The language of 
the time, embodying this doctrine, was, " that a 
commission could not supersede a patent." 




The relations of New England to the politics of 
the mother country were now of extreme impor- 
tance. Scotland on the one hand, and New Eng- 
land on the other, were in the front ranks of the 
party war which raged in England after the down- 
fall of prelacy. And New England was on the 
side which at length obtained the mastery. 

The Presbyterian regimen of Calvin was im- 
ported from Geneva into Scotland by John 
Knox. Under the auspices of his successor, 

1578. Andrew Melville, it became the ecclesiastical 

1572 law of the land. Thomas Cartwright vtTote 
in favor of it in England ; but this was in 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and in her time and 
that of her successor there was little manifest fruit 
of his labors, though under King James the discon- 
tent with the episcopal hierarchy was constantly 
increasing and extending. 

The first movement in arms against King Charles 
was made in Scotland, and the close communica- 
tion and sympathy into which the patriots of the 
two kingdoms were brought naturally quickened 
the* tendency of opinion in England towards that 


form of church government which was approved in 
the sister realm. An ordinance of the Long 1(542. 
Parliament abolished episcopacy. Another ^^p'-^"'- 
convoked an assembly '* to be consulted ^543 
with by the Parliament for the settling "'""^ ^2- 
of the government and liturgy of the Church of 

When this body, famous in history as the West- 
minster Assembly, came together, a large majority of 
its members were found to be in favor of the Pres- 
byterian rule. A considerable number were still 
attached to the old hierarchical system, but, obey- 
ing the King's mandate, they soon withdrew. A 
few members were known as Independents. They 
were in sympathy with Oliver Cromwell, Vane the 
younger, and some other members of Parliament. 
As yet, a large majority of Parliament was with 
the Presbyterians. 

Even before the meeting of the Westminster 
Assembly, the controversy between Presbyterians 
and Independents had broken out. It continued 
for several years, at the end of which the Indepen- 
dents, a despised body at first, obtained absolute 
mastery. Though England was the field of the 
dispute, the chief champions belonged to Scotland 
and to New England. Hooker of Connecticut, 
Cotton, Shepard, Allin, Norton, Mather, and others 
of Massachusetts, did battle for the Independents ; 
Baillie, Rutherfurd, Henderson, and other Scottish 
divines, for the Presbyterians ; and according as 
New England or Scotland seemed to be prosper- 


ing in these polemics, the star of Fairfax or of 
Essex seemed to be rising. The policy proclaimed 
by the Presbyterians was that of church unity, and 
of such coercion as should be necessary to secure 
it. The policy announced by the Independents was 
that of toleration, and thus they were made perti- 
nacious and active, alike by the force of a gener- 
ous purpose, and by the apprehension of what they 
should have to suffer in case they were overborne. 
When Presbytery, arrogant and threatening, 
reigned in the counsels of the mother country, it 
could not fail to be watched with solicitude in the 
distant colonies. In Massachusetts, " some of the 
elders," Winthrop sorrowfully wrote, " went about 

,„,„ to set up some things according to the Pres- 
1643. r & o 

bytery." These were Thomas Parker and 
Jannes Noyes, ministers of the church of Newbury. 
They were amiable and unambitious men, who, 
having relieved their consciences by their mani- 
festo, were not disposed to make further trouble. 

The case was very different with William Vas- 
sall, who was one of the original Assistants named 
in the charter of the Massachusetts Company. He 
was a man of fortune, and, what was very mate- 
rial, his brother, also formerly an Assistant, was 
now one of the Parliament's Commissioners for 
the Government of Foreign Plantations. William 
Vassall had come to Massachusetts with Win- 
throp's fleet, but remained only a very short time. 
He came to New England again five years 
later, but then it was to the colony of 


Plymouth. At Scituate he established his home, 
and the character of "a man of a busy and factious 
spirit, and always opposite to the civil government 
of this country, and the way of the churches." He 
was not unobservant of that critical period in the 
party conflict abroad when the " Self- Denying 
Ordinance" had given to the Independents a sort 
of control of the army, and when, on the ^g^g 
other hand, an ordinance of Parliament had ^"sia- 
established Presbytery as the church of England. 
He " practised with " a few^ persons in Massachu- 
setts, whose plot took the form of a " Re- jg^g 
monstrance and Humble Petition" to the ^^^^' 
General Court. They represented that the gov- 
ernment of the colony was not " according to the 
laws of England ; " that many English subjects 
were excluded from civil and military employments, 
and from the franchise ; and that numerous mem- 
bers of the Church of England were " detained 
from the seals of the covenant of free grace." They 
prayed for relief from each of these grievances; and 
they gave notice, that, if it were denied, they should 
"be necessitated to apply their humble desires to 
the honorable Houses of Parliament." 

This was serving a notice on Independent Mas- 
sachusetts, that, unless she would renounce her 
cherished constitutions, civil and ecclesiastical, she 
might prepare to feel the heavy hand of a Presby- 
terian Parliament. The Humble Petition was sub- 
scribed by seven persons, of whom Samuel Maver- 
ick, found by Winthrop's company on an island in 


Boston harbor, was one ; the rest were of little or 
no consideration. The paper, prepared for outside 
effect, was "dispersed into the hands of some known 
ill-affected people in the governments adjoining," 
and even as far as " the Dutch plantation, Virginia, 
and Bermudas." 

The occasion was not one for half-way measures. 
Massachusetts was not ready for Presbyterian sway, 
nor, as things stood, for submission to the English 
Parliament. The General Court answered 
the "Remonstrance and Petition" by a pub- 
lished " Declaration," designed for effect abroad as 
well as at home, in which they maintained their 
own case with equal circumspection and boldness. 
Vassall's friends were not to be so put down. 
Learning that two of them were about to embark 
for England, to prosecute their business, the Court 
stopped them with a summons to appear and " an- 
swer to the matter of their petition." They replied 
by an appeal "to the Gentlemen Commissioners for 
Plantations," and the Court ordered them into cus- 
tody. The seven disturbers were next arraigned as 
authors of " divers false and scandalous passages 

in a certain paper against the churches of. 

Christ and the civil government here established, 
derogating from the honor and authority of the same, 
and tending to sedition." Refusing to answer, they 
were punished by fines, of different amounts, from 
tifty pounds to ten pounds. Three Assistants, 
Bellingham, Saltonstall, and Bradstreet, with four 
Deputies, opposed the sentence. 


This affair, and the trouble threatened by the 
intrigue of Gorton and his friends with the Narra- 
gansetts, caused it to be " thought needful to send 
some able nrian into England, with commission and 
instructions to satisfy the Commissioners for Plan- 
tations." Edward Winslow, of Plymouth, was ap- 
pointed to this agency. In a conference which 
was held respecting the instructions to be furnished 
him, the relation of Massachusetts to England was 
compared with that of Burgundy and Flanders to 
France, a relation not inconsistent with " absolute 
power of government." At the request of the Court, 
the elders drew up a second declaration, in which 
they said : " We conceive, that, in point of govern- 
ment, we have, granted by patent, such full and 
ample power of choosing all otficers that shall com- 
mand and rule over us, of making all laws and 
rules of our obedience, and of a full and final deter- 
mination of all cases in the administration of jus- 
tice, that no appeals or other ways of interrupting 
our proceedings do lie against us." This was no 
less than political independence. 

Child and Dand, two of the remonstrants, were 
.preparing to go to England with a petition to the 
Parliament from a number of the non-freemen. 
Informed of their intention, the Magistrates ordered 
a seizure of their papers. The searching officers 
found in their possession certain memorials to the 
Commissioners for Plantations, asking for " settled 
churches according to the [Presbyterian] Reforma- 
tion of England ; " for the establishment, in the 


colony, of the laws of the realm ; and for the ap- 
pointment of " a General Governor, or some hon- 
orable commissioners," to reform the existing state 
of things. For this further offence, such of the 
prominent conspirators as remained in the country 
were punished by additional fines. Child and 
Dand were mulcted in the sum of two hundred 
pounds ; Maverick, in that of a hundred and fifty 
pounds ; and two others, of a hundred pounds each. 
Vassall had preceded Winslow to England. 
Child soon followed. Child, as well as 
^ '■ Vassall, had a brother then in power. But 
the tide was now on the turn. With the King in 
the hands of an Independent army, it would no 
longer do for Presbytery to be arrogant. Child 
approached the Commissioners with a petition 
against Massachusetts ; but his associate, Thomas 
Fowle, had taken alarm, and begged that he might 
not be thought to have anything to do with it. 
" Mr. Vassall, finding no entertainment for his 
petitions, went to Barbadoes," and Child was pre- 
vailed upon by his friends " to give it under his 
hand never to speak evil of New England men 
after, nor to occasion any trouble to the country, 
or to any of the people," so that, " as for those who 
went over to procure us trouble, God met with 
them all." 

The Presbyterian controversy, and the solicitude 
which it created, had revealed a weak point in the 
original Independent scheme of church order. The 
primitive dread of ecclesiastical domination in any 


form was not at all abated, but the want had be- 
come manifest of some principle of union and some 
system of common authority, or of mutual influ- 
ence, among the churches, both for the avoiding of 
scandal, and for efficiency in joint action for the 
common safety. A few days only after the recep- 
tion of the " Remonstrance and Humble Petition " 
had apprised them of the existence of an jg^g 
alarming cabal, the General Court passed ^*>i^- 
a vote convoking a synod of elders and messengers 
from the churches of all the confederate colonies, 
for " the establishing and settling of the right form 
of government and discipline by the joint and pub- 
lic agreement and consent of churches, and by the 
sanction of civil authority." 

The synod came together in the meeting-house 
of Cambridge. All the churches of Massa- 

" Sept. 1. 

chusetts were represented, except four. The 
absence of the church of Concord was accidental. 
The church of Hingham stayed away because its 
minister, Mr. Hobart, feared that the synod would 
be too hostile to Presbytery. The churches of Bos- 
ton and Salem held back, because they feared that 
the synod would lean too much the other way. The 
Pastor and Teacher of Boston " thought it their 
duty to go, notwithstanding;" and at length the 
church was prevailed upon by Mr. Norton to rein- 
force them with messengers. The synod did not 
pursue its business with alacrity. But at length, 
after two adjournments, and nearly two jg^ 
years after its first meeting, it published its ^"* * 


conclusions as they were embodied in " A Platform 
of Church Discipline, gathered out of the word of 

In describing tiie constitution of churches as to 
members, officers, authority, duties, and methods of 
administration, the Cambridge Platform — known 
in later times as the Book of Discipline of the Con- 
gregational church — merely defines the principles 
and practices which had all along distinguished the 
Independent body. The chief fruit of it was a 
modification of the original theory, in respect to 
the formal recognition of an arrangement designed 
to introduce order and unity, and to create a capa- 
city for more efficient action and influence than 
was now thought to have been provided for in the 
original frame of the churches. The constitution 
of the Independent churches of England was 
strictly indicated by the name which they bore. 
Each was competent in itself to all ecclesiastical 
offices, and there was no instituted connection 
among them. In New England, from an early 
period of its history, we find instances of a church 
encouraged or expostulated with by another church, 
or by churches, or by Magistrates, or by ministers, 
on occasions of special interest, or on apprehensions 
of erroneous belief or practice. With the benefit 
of the experience of nearly twenty years, and in 
the light of the events which have last been related, 
the discerning minds of Cotton, Hooker, Norton, 
and their associates, saw the expediency of giving 
permanence to a system of mutual supervision and 


influence. Accordingly the Cambridge synod for- 
mally recognized the prerogative of occasional 
councils, composed of " elders and other messen- 
gers" of churches, to give advice and admonition, 
and in extreme cases to withhold fellowship (or 
participation in religious services and functions) 
from an offending church, " but not to exercise 
church censures in way of discipline, nor any other 
act of church authority or jurisdiction." 

A Congregational Council — or Synod, as it was 
now more usually termed — was not a permanent 
body, like the Classes, Synods, and General Assem- 
bly of the Presbyterian church. It was summoned 
for a special occasion ; it was composed of cler- 
ical and lay delegates from such and so many of 
the neighboring churches as circumstances made 
it convenient for the parties interested to convoke ; 
and its existence ceased when the present occasion 
was over. It had no power to act immediately on 
individuals. Its judgment and will, if made oper- 
ative at all, were carried into effect by the church 
or churches to which its counsels were addressed. 
And in case of the rejection of its advice, the high- 
est act of authority to which it was competent 
was to withdraw the countenance and fellowship 
of the churches represented in it from the offend- 
ing church, thus making public their sense of its 
ill-desert, and their own exemption from respon- 

The Ecclesiastical Councils thus grafted in New 
England on the original scheme of Independency 


may properly be considered as the specific differ- 
ence of the Congregational system. The term 
Congregational now became established, as denot- 
ing a form of church order. The divines of the 
Cambridge synod used it in the preface to their 
platform ; and Cotton pronounced it the fittest he 
knew to make a distinction, on the one hand, from 
the Presbyterian regimen, and, on the other, from 
" those corrupt sects and heresies which showed 
themselves under the vast title of Independency." 

The platform gave its sanction to a relaxation 
of the primitive rule, and a faint approval to one 
feature of presbytery, by allowing the ordination 
of officers of a church by officers of other churches, 
" in cases where there were no elders, and the 
church so desired." And, as a last resort for the 
protection of peace and purity, it looked to the in- 
tervention of the civil power. " If any church, one 
or more, shall grow schismatical, rending itself 
from the communion of other churches, or shall 
walk incorrigibly or obstinately in any corrupt way 
of their own, contrary to the rule of the word, in 
such case the Magistrate is to put forth his coercive 
power, as the matter shall require." 

It is no matter of surprise that an ecclesiastical 
assembly should thus seek to enlist the government 
in support of its opinions and of its authority. 
But the government appears not to have been for- 
ward to assume such a responsibility, or to be a 
party to any sharper definition of the connection 
between Church and State than circumstances from 


time to time might call for. Agreeably to the v«ite 
by which the synod was convened, its platform was 
submitted to the General Court " for their consider- 
ation and acceptance in the Lord." After a delay 
of more than a year, the General Court re- 1549 
solved " to commend it to the judicious and ^'•^''• 
pious consideration of the several churches within 

the jurisdiction, desiring a return how far 

it was suitable to their judgments and approbation, 
before the Court proceeded any further therein." 
When two years more had passed, they dis- ^^i 
posed of the business by a brief declaratory <^"='- 1*- 
vote, giving " their testimony to the said Book of 
Discipline, that for the substance thereof, it was 
that they had practised, and did believe." 

Questions of civil and religious liberty, and of 
church organization, were not the only matters of 
common interest between the leaders of affairs in 
New England and in the parent country. In their 
solicitude to convert the natives to a Christian faith 
and practice, the colonists sought and found the 
sympathy and aid of fellow- believers in England. 
For a time the wants and hardships which they 
encountered were such as to aiford sufficient em- 
ployment to the thoughts of every day; though they 
were never indifferent about the religious condition 
of the savages around them, nor unconcerned to 
use for their benefit such opportunities as occurred. 
In the year after the confederation, the General 
Court of Massachusetts passed an order jg^ 
which, perhaps, entitles it to be considered ^°'- ^^- 


the first Missionary Society of Protestant Christen- 
dom. The order directed the County Courts to take 
measures "to have the Indians residing in their 
several shires instructed in the linovvledge and wor- 
ship of God." It was followed up by authority 
1646 giv^" ^o the ministers to send two of their 
Not. 4. number " to make known the heavenly coun- 
sel of God among the Indians in most familiar 
manner, by the help of some able interpreter." 

Two names are especially connected with this 
enterprise, — those of John Eliot, of Roxbury, and 
Thomas Mayhew (father and son), of Martha's 
Vineyard. Having attained some proficiency in 
the language of the natives, Eliot first ad- 
dressed an audience of them at the falls of 
Charles River, in Watertown. He spoke an hour 
and a quarter, and was assured that he was well 
understood. Encouraged by so prosperous a be- 
ginning, he extended his labors to other parts of 
Massachusetts. He preached at Dorchester, at 
Concord, at Yarmouth, at Sudbury, at Dedham, at 
Lynn, and at Brookfield, and on the whole met with 
gratifying success. If some of the savage auditors 
proved to be " naught," others were " found hun- 
gry after instruction." 

The Mayhews were owners of Martha's Vine- 
yard, by a patent which they had obtained from 
the Earl of Stirling. Thomas Mayhew, the son, 
1544 found himself presently engaged in mis- 
iggQ sionary work, and in a few years he could 
Sept. 7. gay . u There are now, by the grace of God, 


thirty-nine Indian men of this meeting, besides 
women that are looking this way, which we sup- 
pose to exceed the number of the men." 

" Some thought that all this work was done and 
acted thus by the Indians to please the English, 
and for applause from them." But gratitude and 
hope predominated ; and intelligence of the glad 
prospect was forwarded to England, where it was re- 
ceived with delight. In an address to Parlia- ^^^ 
ment, twelve ministers, of the most eminent 
in England, representing both sects, Presbyterians 
and Independents, commended the object of evan- 
gelizing the natives of New England to the patron- 
age of the State. Winslow, with all his intelligent 
activity, urged on the movement; and an 
ordinance of Parliament was passed " for the Juiy i9- 
promoting and propagating of the gospel of Jesus 
Christ in New England." It constituted a corpo- 
ration in England, to consist of a president, a 
treasurer, and fourteen assistants, with power to 
hold real estate of the value of not more than two 
thousand pounds yearly income, and personal prop- 
erty without limitation. And it incidentally recog- 
nized the Confederacy by intrusting the local man- 
agement of the business of the corporation to " the 
Commissioners of the United Colonies of New 

While Massachusetts thus sought the aid of the 
government of England in her endeavors to evan- 
gelize the Indians, she made no communication to 
Parliament respecting her intercourse with Ameri- 


can subjects *of the continental States of Europe. 
Her foreign relations she preferred to keep strictly 
under her own charge, and the charge of the Con- 
federacy, which confided much to her discretion. 
Her French neighbors at the east had not yet 
ceased to be troublesome. D'Aulnay, blockading 
La Tour's stronghold at St. John, cap- 
tured a Boston vessel, and treated her crew 
with severity. The Magistrates sent him a letter 
of remonstrance ; while he complained of a depar- 
ture, on their part, from the neutrality that had 
heen agreed upon. La Tour's fort was taken by 
his rival, and for the time he was ruined, with great 
loss to some Boston merchants, from whom he had 
borrowed. He took to fur-trading, and, as Win- 
throp believed, to piracy ; but after four or five years, 
restored his fortunes by marrying the widow of 
his ancient rival. The dispute between Massa- 
chusetts and D'Aulnay had been taken up by the 
Commissioners, and with their help had been finally 
adjusted three or four years before his death. 

These transactions are of little interest, except 
as showing with what freedom the Confederacy — 
or, as the case might be, Massachusetts, acting for 
it — took the position of an independent power. 
On the western border, New England had relations 
of a more practical description to oversee and ad- 
just. The Dutch at New Netherland were from 
time to time asserting a claim which the English 
colonists considered themselves to be under obli- 
gations alike of honor and of interest to fend off, 


at least so long as their friends in England were 
too busy to give it their attention. 

The New Haven people having set up a trading 
house some ten miles northwestwardly from 
their town, the Dutch governor wrote to Aug. 3. 
the Governors of New Haven and Massachusetts 
to remonstrate against the encroachment on his 
domain. The Federal Commissioners took cogni- 
zance of the matter, and sent a messenger 
to New Amsterdam to signify their approba- ^^'" ' 
tion of the proceeding complained of, and to make 
a counter representation respecting misconduct of 
the Dutch at the fort which they still held at Hart- 
ford. Kieft, the Dutch governor, was soon displaced. 
Peter Stuyvesant, his successor, in a letter 
of ceremony to the Governor of Massachu- 
setts, " laid claim to all between Connecticut and 
Delaware," and was answered by a complaint of 
the sale of arms and ammunition by the Dutch to 
the Indians. Other occasions of dispute arose, but 
Stuyvesant became less offensive, as he learned 
more of those with whom he had to contend. He 
wrote to the Governor of Massachusetts, 1548 
proposing to submit to him and to the Gov- ^*'*''- 
ernor of Plymouth the questions pending between 
New Netherland and New Haven. The General 
Court advised that the proposal should be sub- 
mitted to the Commissioners. The Commission- 
ers addressed to Stuyvesant a joint letter, 
inquiring what it was that he proposed to 
refer, and what were his credentials. They restated 

VOL. I. 22 


their grounds of complaint against his colony, and 
gave him notice of their intention to retaliate any 
injustice done to any person, of whatever nation, 
inhabiting within their bounds, and, in short, to 
" vindicate the English rights by all suitable and 
just means." Stuyvesant could not take the re- 
sponsibility of provoking the execution of these 
threats. He wrote home asking for instructions, 
and urging that the parent governments 
should settle the controversy. And here it 
restea for the present. 



When Winslow went to England as agent for 
Massachusetts to counteract the plots of Gorton 
and Child and their respective associates, eleven 
years had passed since the last of his three previous 
voyages to that country. Instead of having in 
charge, as before, an humble suit to a domineering 
Privy Council, and a vexatious negotiation veith 
some London merchants for a small sum of money, 
the cause of a community beginning to be confident 
in its power was now to be pleaded by him in the 
hearing of rulers of England who recognized him 
as their equal associate. He arrived in the month 
in which the King was surrendered by the jg^^ 
Scottish army to the English Parliament, ''^' 
and two months before the question of disbanding 
the troops provoked the open quarrel between the 
Presbyterians and the Independents. 

His success in relation to the dispute of the 
authorities of Massachusetts with the Presbyteri- 
ans in that colony was related in the last chapter. 
The intrigues of Gorton, Greene, and Holden had 
demanded his still earlier attention. As Child and 
his party relied upon the Presbyterians for support, 


SO in the Levellers and Ranters, whom the strong 
hand of Cromwell, after helping them to rise, was 
now hardly keeping in check, the emissaries from 
Shawomet found sympathizers so numerous and 
active that other parties were indisposed to incur 
their displeasure. 

Gorton and his colleagues had gone to England 
more than a year before Winslow. They took 
with them the Act of Submission of the Narra- 
gansetts, and they presented to the Commissioners 
for Foreign Plantations a complaint of the treat- 
ment which their company had experienced. They 
1646. obtained from the Commissioners an order 

^*y^^' to the government of Massachusetts to allow 
the petitioners and their friends " freely and quietly 
to live and plant upon Shawomet," till such time 
as the adverse claim of Massachusetts could be 
presented and considered. With this order, and 
with a letter of safe-conduct from the same author- 

Se t 13 ^^y^ Holden arrived in Boston three months 
before Winslow's departure. The Governor 
refused him permission to land, till the advice of 
the Magistrates should be obtained. The Magis- 
trates, divided in opinion, recommended that the 
elders should be consulted. The elders, too, were 
of different minds ; but " the greater part, both of 
Magistrates and elders, thought it better to give 
so much respect to the protection which the Par- 
liament had given him, as to suffer him to pass 
quietly away." 

In drawing up instructions for their agent, and 


a remonstrance and petition which he was to pre- 
sent to the Commissioners, the General Court pro- 
ceeded with great caution. It was not till after 
some deliberation that they determined to " give 
the Commissioners their title, lest thereby," they 
said, " we should acknowledge all that power they 
claim in our jurisdiction." They declined to make 
the formal answer which had been called for to the 
charges of Gorton and his confederates, preferring 
to " wait upon Providence for the preservation of 
their just liberties, if the Parliament should be less 
inclinable." They instructed their agent to main- 
tain that their charter gave them an " absolute 
power of government ; " and in their remonstrance 
they cautioned the Commissioners against assum- 
ing a responsibility to which they would be sure to 
find themselves unequal. 

Just before Winslow reached England, Gorton 
had presented his case to the public in a book, 
with a long title, of which the first part is, " Sim- 
plicitie's Defence against Seven-Headed Policy." 
In a few weeks Winslow published a reply to it, 
which in some copies bears the title of " The 
Danger of tolerating Levellers in a Civil State," 
in others, the title of " Hypocrisie Unmasked," In 
a dedication to the Earl of Warwick and his fel- 
low-Commissioners, they were urged to refuse to 
receive appeals from New England, and by this and 
other acts of justice to the people of that country, 
to lay them under an obligation to " engage with 
and for " the Parliament and the Commissioners 


" against all opposers of the State, to the last drop 
of blood in their veins." 

This publication was seasonable. Ecclesiastical 
Independency was climbing rapidly to dominion in 
England; and Massachusetts, the champion of that 
system, was in favor. The Commissioners hastened 
to relieve the anxiety which was felt as to the most 
important point that had been raised. " We intend- 
jg^- ed not," they wrote, " to encourage any ap- 
May26. peals from your justice." Finally, the appli- 
cation of Gorton and his friends to the Commission- 
ers for an authoritative interference in their behalf 
obtained no more than an intercession for indulgent 
^ treatment of them. " We commend it to 

July 22. 

the government, under whose jurisdiction 

they shall appear to be, to encourage them 

with protection and assistance, in all fit ways, 
provided that they demean themselves peaceably, 

wherein if they shall be faulty, we leave 

them to be proceeded with according to justice." 

Thus discomfited, Gorton set his face home- 
ward. Arriving at Boston, he produced a 

May- letter from the Earl of Warwick, " desiring 
only that he might have liberty to pass home." 
This was yielded only after much opposition, and 
by a majority of a single vote in the General 
Court. No immediate inconvenience followed 
from Gorton's presence. He had come back a 
sadder and more peaceable, if not a wiser, man. 
Encouraged by the order of the Parliamentary 
Commissioners brought by Holden in the second 


preceding year, several of the party had reassem- 
bled at Shawomet, to which place they had given 
the name of Warwick, in commemoration, or in 
hope, of the noble admiral's favor. They no sooner 
learned from their returning emissary how little he 
had prospered, than they " sent two of their com- 
pany to petition the General Court, and make 
their peace." Learning at Dedhara, on their way, 
that the Court had adjourned, the messengers wrote 
to Winthrop, in terras not so much deferential as 
abject, asking leave to wait upon him with the 
" humble request" which they had in charge. The 
Governor's reply, if he made one, is not recorded. 
While the people at Warwick should be inoffen- 
sive, as they had lately been, and as there was now 
an increased probability that they would continue 
to be, Massachusetts had no desire to disturb 

The account which has been given of transac- 
tions in and relating to the Narragansett country 
through a period of nearly eight years, has been 
confined to the proceedings of the Indians of that 
name, and of the party of Gorton now resettled at 
Shawomet. An independent series of events, pos- 
sessing a different kind of interest, had been taking 
place meanwhile in the same neighborhood. 

The reader remembers, that, at the time of 
the confederation, Newport with Portsmouth, on 
Rhode Island, constituted one community, and 
Providence another, — the two being as distinct as 
either was from Plymouth or from Connecticut 


And so they remained for three years longer, when, 
in the sequel of proceedings which are now to be 
related, an attempt was made, but with little suc- 
cess, to unite the jurisdictions. 

It was two months before the confederation, and 
some two years after Gorton had begun his an- 

jg^g noyances at Providence, that Roger Wil- 

March. liams set sail for England, in the hope of 
obtaining some authority for a government of the 
settlements on Narragansett Bay. Favorably in- 
troduced by Sir Henry Vane, he had obtained 

1644. from the Parliamentary Commissioners a 
March u. patent, which associated " the towns of Prov- 
idence, Portsmouth, and Newport " in one com- 
munity, "by ^he name of the Incorporation of 
Providence Plantations, in the Narrag nsett Bay 
in New England." It prescribed no criterion of 
citizenship, and no form of organization. It sim- 
ply empowered the "inhabitants" of the towns 
named to establish such a government as " they 
should find most suitable to their state and con- 
dition," and to make laws " conformable to the 
laws of England, so far as the nature of the case 
would admit." 

This instrument Williams brought to Boston, 
with a letter to the Magistrates, in which not the 
Commissioners, who perhaps scrupled to ask what 
might be denied, but " divers lords and others of the 
Parliament" requested that he might have friend- 

g^ ^ ly treatment. At Providence he received 
a cordial welcome, but this was all. For 


the present there appeared little disposition to turn 
to account the arrangement which he had made. 
Plymouth sent one of her Assistants to 

■' Not. 5. 

Rhode Island to declare that great part of 
the territory covered by the new patent was with- 
in her limits. Massachusetts asserted a similar 
claim on the ground of a patent obtained from the 
Commissioners three months earlier than that of 
Williams. Coddington and his friends had been 
no parties to Williams's scheme, and did not wish 
it to succeed. Williams withdrew to a residence 
in the heart of the Narragansett country, where, in 
partnership with an Englishman whom he found 
there, named Richard Smith, he took to trading 
with the Indians, and for a time was expecting to 
grow rich. 

Holden returned from England, as has been re- 
lated, two years after Williams. Perhaps he had 
concerted with Gorton to bring about a pacifica- 
tion of the feud which had existed between them 
and Williams, and unite their forces to set up, for 
the common advantage, the government which had 
been authorized by Williams's patent. At all events, 
within a few months after Holden's return, we find 
Williams, with nine other persons, among jg^- 
whom were Gorton's friends, John Greene ^^^^ ^^• 
and Richard Waterman, elected to represent the 
town of Providence in a convention of delegates 
from all the Narragansett settlements. The con- 
vention included a delegation from Warwick, 
though the patent had given no authority to that 


plantation. A constitution of union and govern- 
May ment was established, and a minute code of 
19-21. jg^^g^ fjjg Q(^g colony was to have a Presi- 
dent, four Assistants, (in each town one,) and other 
officers, to be chosen each year by a general assem- 
bly of the citizens. John Coggeshall, of Newport, 
was made President, from which town were also 
taken the Recorder (or Secretary), and the Treas- 
urer. Williams was Assistant for Providence, Cod- 
dington for Newport, and Holden for Warwick. 
Sanford, who represented Portsmouth at that board, 
must have found it hard to keep the peace between 
his colleagues. 

The scheme proved a failure. The machine had 
taken some three years to construct and set agoing, 
after its construction had been authorized by the 
patent. In three years more it ran down. Three 
only of the proposed annual Assemblies were held. 
At the first of these, Coddington was chosen Presi- 
dent, but declined to serve; and, on the other hand, 
" divers bills of complaint were exhibited against 
him," of which he took no notice. It was about 
this time that Gorton returned from England, as 
has been related. 

Eight months later, Coddington sailed for Eng- 
jgjQ land, with objects that will be explained 
Jan. hereafter. Meanwhile, stimulated, as ap- 
pears, by the return of Gorton, who, he appre- 
hended, would prove " a thorn, if the Lord pre- 
vented not," he had attempted a negotiation of 
equal delicacy and importance. In behalf, as he 


alleged, of " the majority of the people of Rhode 
Island," he applied to the Commissioners of the 
four colonies for their admission into the Confed- 
eracy. But this, he was told, the islanders could 
not obtain, except by placing themselves under 
the jurisdiction of Plymouth ; a course to which, 
personally, he was now by no means disinclined, 
but which he could not commaud sufficient sup- 
port among his neighbors to make practicable. In 
his place Williams was made Chief Magis- ^^^ 
trate, with the title of Deputy - President. ^'^^^ 
Williams held the office but two months, _ 

' May 22. 

being succeeded at the annual election by 
John Smith, of Warwick, who, in Massachusetts, 
had been one of the partisans of Child. The next 
following year, Nicholas Easton, of New- 
port, was chosen President. The govern- 
ment was now falling to pieces. Before the end 
of the year a special meeting of the General Court 
was held, and an order was passed " to capitulate 
with Mr. Williams about his going to England " 
to make further endeavors for a settlement. But 
Williams, after his experience, had no heart for the 
undertaking ; and for the present the plantations of 
disorganized Rhode Island went on each its own 
fantastic way. 

It is necessary to retrace our steps in order to 
follow the course of transactions with the Narra- 
gansett Indians. The expectations with which 
Gorton and his friends had encouraged them in 
their quarrel with Massachusetts had been wofuUy 


disappointed. Gorton had disappeared for three 
years. None of the assistance he had promised 
them came from the King. At the expiration of 
1644 the truce which they had been persuaded to 
^^*" make with Uncas, their attitude again be- 
came menacing. A force, said to amount to not 
less than four thousand warriors of the tribe, and to 
have as many as thirty muskets, fell upon 
the Mohegans, who again defeated them, 
but not without considerable loss. An occasion 
was thought to have arisen for a special meeting 
of the Federal Commissioners, which accordingly 
was held at Boston. They despatched mes- 
sages to the hostile chiefs, requiring their 
presence personally, or by ambassadors, to treat of 
the terms of peace. The messengers returned with 
the defiance of the Narragan setts. Probably Gor- 
ton had not yet gone abroad, and was giving them 
encouragement. Williams wrote "that the coun- 
try would suddenly be all on fire by war;" and that 
" the Narragansetts had been with the plantations 
combined with Providence, and solemnly treated 
and settled a neutrality with them." 

" These premises being weighed, it clearly ap- 
peared that God called the colonies to a war ; " 
and the call was promptly answered. It was ar- 
ranged that three hundred men should take the 
field : one hundred and ninety from Massachusetts, 
forty from Plymouth, as many from Connecticut, 
and thirty from New Haven. Edward Gibbons^ 
of Massachusetts, was appointed commauder-in- 


chief. Within three days forty men marched from 
Massachusetts, to secure Uncas against a i?urprise. 
Other messengers were despatched to renew the 
proposal for the suspected sachems to present them- 
selves at Boston, and to add that " deputies would 
not now serve, nor might the preparations in hand 
be now stayed." Williams, who had come from 
England nearly a year before, accompanied the 
messengers as interpreter, and probably made him- 
self useful, though the Commissioners blamed their 
agents for employing him. 

The chiefs were brought to reconsider their pas- 
sionate decision ; and the Narragansetts, Pessacus 
and Mixan, with Ninigret, sachem of their Nyan- 
tic allies, came to Boston, where they concluded a 
treaty of " firm and perpetual peace " with the 
English, with Uncas, with Pomham and Sacono- 
noco, and with all other Indians " in friendship 
with, or subject to, any of the English." They 
agreed to reimburse the charge of the expedition 
against them to the amount of " two thousand 
fathom of good white wampum," payable in four 
annual instalments, and to leave four children of 
their chiefs as hostages for their good faith. 

The instalment due in the following spring was 
not paid. It remained unpaid when another year 
had passed, and it was feared that the omission 
was to be explained by intelligence which had been 
received, to the effect that the Narragansetts had 
" been plotting, and by presents of wampum en- 
gaging the Indians round about to combine with 


them against the English colonies in war." At a 
special meeting held at Boston, the Commissioners 

1647. resolved to send to Pessacus and require 
July 26. jjjg immediate presence before them. He 
sent excuses, which, though they were humble, did 
not satisfy, and with them his ally Ninigret, who, 
promising that the debt should be speedily dis- 
charged, was dismissed with the threat, that, if 
there were twenty days' more delay, "the Commis- 
sioners would send no more messengers, but take 
course to right themselves, as they saw cause, in 
their own time." 

Nevertheless, after still another year, the account 
remained unsettled, while stories continued to ar- 
rive of attempts on the part of the Narragansetts 
to contract an alliance with the powerful and mer- 
cenary Mohawks. Remonstrances and menaces, 
repeated during yet three years longer by the Eng- 
lish, failed to obtain anything more than an uncer- 
tain and anxious peace. A Narragansett Indian, 
arrested in an attempt upon the life of Uncas, 
affirmed that he had been bribed to the deed by 
the chief of his tribe. The Commissioners decided 

jggQ that it was necessary to take final meas- 
sept. 5. |2].gg ci ^Q keep the colonies from contempt 
imong the Indians, and to prevent their improving 
he said wampum to hire other Indians to join 
with themselves ; " and they sent Captain Ather- 
ton, with twenty Massachusetts men, to Pessacus, 
to " demand the said wampum, and upon refusal 
or delay, to take the same, or the value thereof." 


He was instructed, " if other means were wanting, 
with as little hurt as might be," to seize and bring 
away either Pessacus or his children. Atherton 
sought the sachem in his wigwam, and the demon- 
stration was decisive. The wampum was paid, 
and for the present the Narragansetts seemed to 
be impressed with the safety of peaceable behavior. 



Confederacies always contain elements of 
jealousy, which are so many disintegrating forces. 
When the confederation of the four New England 
colonies was made, it was not till after some re- 
luctance had been overcome, first on the part of 
Massachusetts, then on the part of Connecticut. 
Possessing wealth and numbers far superior to the 
aggregate of those of the three smaller colonies, 
Massachusetts was both tempted to arrogance, and 
liable to be regarded with unreasonable distrust. 

The first dispute which arose was between Mas- 
sachusetts and Connecticut. To pay her debt to 
George Fenwick, incurred by the purchase from 
him of the fort at Saybrook, Connecticut levied a 
toll on all vessels passing out of the river. The 
people of Springfield refused to pay it, on the 
ground of their belonging to the jurisdiction of 
Massachusetts. The penalty of refusal, which was 
confiscation of the property, Connecticut forbore to 
exact, till there should be a judgment of the Fed- 
eral Commissioners on the validity of her claim. 

1646. The Commissioners, regarding the object of 
Sept. 22. ^j^g impost to be " chiefly to maintain the 


fort for security and conveniency," in which secu- 
rity and conveniency " Springfield had in its pro- 
portion the same benefit " as the lower towns, 
seemed to approve the action of Connecticut. But 
as Massachusetts had given her representatives no 
instructions touching the matter, a final disposi- 
tion of it was postponed. 

The reader would weary of the details of a dis- 
cussion which was continued through nearly three 
years. Massachusetts contended that Connecticut 
ought not to wrest from the inhabitants of another 
jurisdiction any part of the money used for a pur- 
chase of her own ; that the fort at Saybrook was 
" not useful " to Springfield ; and that the Spring- 
field people would not have planted where they did, 
had they been apprehensive of subjecting them- 
selves to such a burden as was now imposed. To 
this and other arguments Connecticut replied, that 
the impost was not, in fact, " to purchase land or 
fort," though the destination of it was a point into 
which the party taxed had no right to inquire ; 
that the fort had been, was, and would continue to 
be, useful to Springfield ; and that no expectation 
of the now disputed impost would have hindered 
that plantation. 

. As the discussion went on, it extended itself into 
various particulars. From first to last the Com- 
missioners from the two neutral colonies, at first 
with forbearance and modesty, at last with decision, 
though with dignity and temper, favored the claim 
of Connecticut. Such was the displeasure in Mas- 

VOL. I. 23 


sachusetts at this aspect of things, that the General 

1648. Court raised a committee to revise the Ar- 
' *^ ■ tides of Confederation, and propose such 

amendments as might appear necessary for the 
protection of the several colonies against the injus- 
tice of a consolidated power. This committee pro- 
posed to the Federal Commissioners at their 

Sept. 7. '^ . . 

next meetmg various amendments of the 
Articles, among which one was, that, as " Massa- 
chusetts bore almost five for one in the proportion 
of charge with any one of the rest," she should be 
represented in the Federal Congress by three Com- 
missioners, and that any one colony should have 
the same privilege of representation, on consenting 
to the same pecuniary burden. Another was that 
a declaration should be made, that, if any colony 
forbore to follow the advice of the Commissioners, 
" the same not to be accounted any offence or 
breach of any Article of the Confederation." This 
communication led to no practical result of import- 
ance. The Commissioners may have regarded it 
as not altogether inoffensive ; but their treatment 
of it was marked with good sense and good temper. 
As to the original question of the impost at Say- 

1649. brook, Massachusetts, by a vigorous, not to 
^*^ ^" say arbitrary measure, showed her confidence 

in her own case, and her resentment against the 
judges whom she had failed to convince. Foreign 
vessels entering the principal harbors of Massachu- 
setts had been required to pay a duty "towards 
the maintenance of the fortification for the defence 


of the said harbors." The law provided that 

" none of the vessels of our confederates 

shall pay any custom or inrjposition in any of our 
harbors." That exemption was now withdrawn 
in respect to Boston harbor, making vessels of 
Plymouth and New Haven, as well as of Connec- 
ticut, liable to a payment at the Castle of Boston 
similar to what was exacted from Springfield trad- 
ers at Saybrook. The significance of this proceed- 
ing was simple. The Commissioners from 


the two smaller colonies forwarded to Mas- 
e^achusetts a remonstrance against her action, and 
with proper dignity "desired to be spared in all 
further agitations concerning Springfield." The 
angry attitude of Massachusetts was, perhaps, not 
such as she could justify herself in main- ^^^ 
taining; and the retaliating act was repealed *'*^ ^■ 
the next year, " the Court having been credibly in- 
formed that the jurisdiction at Connecticut will for 
the present suspend the taking of any custom of 
us, and that they intend to repeal the order where- 
by they imposed it." On the other hand, eminent 
and admirable as the Commissioners of the neutral 
colonies were for integrity and good judgment, the 
careful reader of the controversy at the present day 
will hesitate to pronounce that on the original 
question they had decided wisely. 

In each of the three smaller colonies of the Con- 
federacy, the popular attachment to the primitive 
leaders was remarkably constant, and no such offi- 
cial changes took place as would have indicated 


occasional variations of policy. It was otherwise 
in Massachusetts. While the most important of 
the events sketched in this and the last chapter 
were passing, Winthrop was at the head of affairs. 
But it was after a third interval, during which, for 
two years, he had held a subordinate position. 
Endicott was Governor in the year when the en- 
gagenient to keep the peace with Uncas was 
extorted from the Narragansetts. Dudley was 
Governor during the year in which that engage- 
ment was broken, and in which Eliot made his 
first essay in preaching to the natives. In both 
these years Winthrop was Deputy-Governor. 

Endicott's term of office was just expiring when 
jg^5 a scheme was proposed to change the basis 
April. q|- representation in the House of Deputies, 
" so as to have only five or six out of each shire," 
instead of one at least from every town. The ex- 
pensiveness of the existing usage was the reason 
urged for this change. " The greater number of 
towns," however, " refused it ; so it was left for 
this time." And more than two hundred years 
passed after this time, before such a change was 

The restlessness of the party opposed to Win- 
throp was manifested in a measure which in those 
days had much more significance than it would 
now have. It had been the practice, almost from 
the beginning, for the Magistrates to appoint some 
minister to preach before the General Court on 
the day of annual election. In one year, the year 


when the factious Belli nghani was Governor, and 
when Ward obtained a well-merited popularity by 
his Body of Liberties, " some of the free- 
men " chose him to be election preacher, 
and the Magistrates acquiesced, for quiet's sake. 
When Endicott was Governor, this prescriptive 
privilege of the Magistrates was a second time 
invaded. The Deputies appointed John jg^ 
Norton, conspicuous for his opposition to o*'*"^"' 
Winthrop in the matter of La Tour and D' Aulnay, 
to be the election preacher. The Magistrates, on 
hearing this, cancelled their own appointment, 
which had fallen upon Norris, of Salem, minister of 
the Governor. It is probable that their moderation, 
and the magnanimity of Endicott, who, though he 
had differed on the recent occasion from Winthrop 
and his friends, knew their worth, and had no dis- 
position to see them treated with disrespect, led to 
the partial restoration of the former settled order 
of things, which took place when Endicott's official 
year expired. 

Dudley, on succeeding him, found an unpleasant 
quarrel on his hands. In the town of Hingham 
there had been a disputed election of captain of 
the trainband. The company mutinied against the 
officer whom the Magistrates decided to have been 
rightfully chosen. The church, under the ministry 
of Peter Hobart, summoned the captain before 
them, on ^harge of having misled the Magistrates 
by false information. The Magistrates sent a con- 
Btabl*" " to attach some of the principal offenders ; " 


and Hobart, with others, was brought to Boston, 
where his deportment to the Magistrates was so 
disrespectful that he was told they would have 
committed him, " were it not for respect to his 
ministry." The impulse to Hobart's disorderly con- 
duct was probably one which does not appear upon 
the surface. He was " of a Presbyterial spirit." 
When, a few months after the time of the trans- 
actions now related, the plot of Child and his 
six friends was just ripened for execution, the 
marshal was resisted in collecting fines levied on 
citizens of Hinghara, and Hobart abetted the dis- 
order, and avowed his sympathy with the political 
heresies of the Presbyterian mutineers. It is prob- 
able that in the view of the Magistrates the knowl- 
edge of these propensities of his, not sufficiently 
considered as yet by the Deputies, perhaps not as 
yet known, gave significance to his conduct in re- 
spect to the military election of his town. 

With eighty of his friends, he presented a peti- 
1545 tion to the General Court which came to- 
Mayi4. gg^jjg^ ^^ ^jjg time of Dudley's accession. 
The prayer was for a hearing against the recent 
action of " some of the Magistrates." The Dep- 
uties consented. The Magistrates expressed their 
willingness to grant the hearing, if the petitioners 
would name the Magistrates complained of, and 
describe the alleged offence. " The petitioners' 
agents thereupon singled out the Deputy-Governor." 
What followed was the crowning glory of a 
course of honor now nearly finished. " The day 


appointed being come, the Court assembled in the 
meeting-house at Boston. Divers of the elders 
were present, and a great assembly of people. 
The Deputy-Governor, coming in with the rest of 
the Magistrates, placed himself beneath the bar, 
and so sat uncovered." At this, " many, both of 
the Court and the assembly, were grieved." But 
he said that he had taken what was the fit place 
for an accused person ; and that, " if he were upon 
the bench, it would be a great disadvantage to 
him, for he could not take that liberty to plead the 
cause which he ought to be allowed at the bar." 

He argued at length that there had been " open 
disturbance of the peace and slighting of author- 
ity," and that the course taken by the Magistrates 
for the honor of government and the security of 
the people had been " according to the equity of 
laws here established, and the custom and laws 
of England, and our constant practice these fifteen 
years." In the Court a debate followed which ran 
through more than seven weeks, with a single 
week's intermission. The assembly, if it contained 
angry elements, was, on the whole, a generous one, 
and the disaffected Deputies found themselves con- 
vinced or disabled. The House offered to join the 
Magistrates in voting that " the petition was false 
and scandalous ; " that the " parties to the disturb- 
ance at Hingham were all offenders ; " and that 
" the Deputy- Govern or ought to be acquit and 
righted." But they were not yet ready to agree 
that " the petitioners were to be censured." The 


Magistrates, however, now felt their power, and 
would take no less than a thorough measure ; and 
a concurrent action of the two Houses proclaimed 
an absolute acquittal of the Deputy-Gov- 
"^ ■ ernor, and a sentence of all the petitioners 
to pay fines, the largest of which was twenty 
pounds, and that of the minister two pounds. 

Winthrop's triumph was complete. " The Gov- 
ernor read the sentence of the Court, without speak- 
ing any more Then was the Deputy- 
Governor desired by the Court to go up and take 
his place again upon the bench, which he did ac- 
cordingly ; and, the Court being about to arise, he 
desired leave for a little speech." The little speech 
was a magnificent discussion of the uses and lim- 
itations of political power, of the responsibility of 
rulers, the principles of a right and reasonable criti- 
cism of their conduct, and the nature of that lib- 
erty, which is not ruinous license. 

The reader is acquainted with the leading par- 
ticulars of the condition of public affairs at this 
time. The Presbyterians were plotting. The 
Narragansetts were stirring. Connecticut was 
thought to be encroaching. Plainly, the times 
were out of joint, and again there was need of 
Winthrop. Changing places with Dudley, he re- 
sumed the highest office, to remain in it as long as 
he lived. The popular spasm was over. The pen- 
dulum swung back. The election sermon was 
preached by Norris, who had been the candidate 
of the Magistrates the year before. The freemen 


took to themselves the electing of Federal Com- 
missioners, instead of allowing them to be chosen 
by the General Court; but this was because they 
thought, that, in choosing in one instance to that 
office a person no higher than a Deputy, the Court 
had not been sufficiently mindful of the dignity 
that belonged to it. 

During Winthrop's last administration, the code 
of laws was revised, enlarged, and in other respects 
improved. But the great memorial of this period 
of his government is the establishment of that sys- 
tem of common schools, which, to every child of 
Massachusetts, through the seven generations that 
have followed, has opened the book of knowledge 
and the way to competence and honor. To the 
end " that learning might not be buried in the 
grave of the fathers," the General Court provided 
by law, "that every township in the juris- jg^^ 
diction, after the Lord had increased them ^°^' "• 
to the number of fifty householders," should main- 
tain a school, and that every town with a hundred 
families should " set up a grammar-school, the mas- 
ter thereof being able to instruct youth so far as 
they might be fitted for the University." 

The ranks of the settlers of New England had 
now begun to be thinned. Winthrop recorded in 
his journal the death of " that faithful servant of 
the Lord," Thomas Hooker, of Hartford, 
" the fruits of whose labors in both Eng- 
lands," he wrote, " shall preserve an honorable and 
happy remembrance of him forever." Winthrop's 


own end was at hand. Early in his sixty-second 
year, " he took a cold, which turned into a fever, 
^g49 whereof he lay sick about a month," and 
March 26. ^^en closcd his eyes upon a scene of rare 
prosperity, Avhich he, helped by many other good 
and able men, had been the chief instrument in 
creating. His last look abroad rested upon the 
tranquil and affluent dwellings of a flourishing. 
Christian people, enjoying a virtual independence 
which wellnigh realized the longing of the best third 
of his life. The vital system of New England was 
complete. It had only thenceforward to grow, as 
the human body grows from childhood to graceful 
and robust maturity. What one life could do for 
a community's well-being, the life of Winthrop had 
diligently and prosperously done. The prosecution 
of the issues he had wrought for was now to be 
committed to the wisdom and courage of a younger 
generation, and to the course of events under the 
continued guidance of a gracious Providence. 



WiNTHROP died just before tidings of the greal 
tragedy that had been enacted in England would 
have reached his ears. In the ten years which 
elapsed between the death of King Charles the 
First and the death of Oliver Cromwell, the rapid 
succession of important events in the mother 
country, and the confidence and favor with which 
the governing party there regarded the colonists of 
New England, conspired to prevent attempts to 
control the administration of the Confederacy, and 
it transacted its business without reference to any 
superior authority abroad. 

Just after Winthrop's death, who was succeeded 
by Endicott, a new relation arose between Massa- 
chusetts and the French colonists on the north of 
her country. On the recovery by France, 
eighteen years before this time, of the 
American territory which had been conquered 
from her by England, the region along the St. 
Lawrence became missionary ground. The Cath- 
olic preachers made converts among the Huron In- 
dians on the north side of Lake Erie, and among the 
Abenaquis in what is now called Maine. A large 
force of Iroquois Indians, having routed the Hurons, 


pursued the fugitives to the very walls of Quebec. 

In this strait, the governor of New France, 

^^^' named D' Ailleboust, conceived the hope of 

obtaining help from Massachusetts and Plymouth, 

which latter colony had relations with the Abena- 

quis through its colony upon the Kennebec; and 

two messengers, Gabriel Druillettes, a priest, 

^ * and John Godefroy, a member of the Coun- 
cil of New France, proceeded to New Haven to 
obtain the sanction of the Federal Commission- 
ers, to whom, at Boston, the business had been re- 

The envoys urged the New England colonies to 
" join in the war," in order to protect the Chris- 
tain converts among the Abenaquis, and to pre- 
vent that interruption of trade with them which 
would be hurtful to French and English alike. If 
the colonies would not consent to take part in the 
^ar, then the envoys desired permission to enlist 
men and obtain provisions within their territory, 
or at least to march forces through it as occasion 
might require. The Commissioners declined all 
these proposals. They were not satisfied, 

^ ■ ' they said, of the justness of the war ; and, 
as to a treaty of commerce, to which they might 
have been disposed, they must await " a fitter 
season " for it, as the envoys had no authority to 
make it except in connection with an alliance. 

Meanwhile the dispute between the western 
colonies and the New Netherlanders seemed for a 
time to have been brought to an amicable issue. 


The hope entertained by Stuyvesant that it might 
be settled by an agreement between the mother 
countries had to be abandoned in consequence of 
their estrangement from each other after the exe- 
cution of King Charles. But the governor had 
instructions to " live with his neighbors on as good 
terms as possible ; " and he decided to waive cere- 
mony, and make a strenuous effort to bring about 
a better state of things. 

He came to Hartford while the Federal Com- 
missioners were in session there. He laid before 
them a complaint of various injuries done jggQ 
by the English to his countrymen, of which ^^*" ^^ 
the most serious was the " unjust usurpation and 
possessing the land upon the river commonly 
called Connecticut, or the Fresh River." The 
Commissioners replied, asserting the English title 
to the lands on the Connecticut as derived from 
" patent, purchase, and possession." Stuyvesant 
proceeded to argue his case with zeal ; but he 
learned the temper of his opponents, and came to 
the conclusion that a different expedient must be 
tried. He proposed that the matters in controversy 
should be referred to the judgment of four 
arbitrators, of whom two should be named * ' 
by the Commissioners and two by himself. The 
proposal was accepted. Bradstreet of Massa- 
chusetts and Prince of Plymouth were appointed 
referees on the part of the Confederacy ; Thomas 
Willett and George Baxter, English residents at 
New Amsterdam, on the part of the Dutch. Their 


award, made on the day after their appointment, 
disallowed in all particulars the claim of the 
Dutch. A boundary was established, securing to 
New Netherland a strip of territory no more than 
ten miles wide, easterly from Hudson's River. The 
arrangement subjected Stuyvesant to severe dis- 
pleasure and complaint at New Amsterdam. But 
it was not to have been expected that he should 
obtain one more favorable ; and it may be be- 
lieved, that, when he named Englishmen to be 
arbitrators on his part, he had made up his mind 
to the necessity of full concessions. 

But New Haven and Connecticut were uneasy 
and suspicious, and further provocations followed. 
On the Delaware, where they were still undertak- 
ing to make a settlement, they had a quarrel with 
some Dutchmen who were there before them. 
When, a year and a half after Stuyvesant's settle- 
ment, a war broke out between the parent coun- 
jggg tries, Connecticut proceeded to put the fort 

Feb. 23. ^^ Saybrook in an efficient state of defence. 
Both colonies were in a condition to lend a ready 
ear to reports which got abroad of a plot of the 
Dutch to enlist against them a joint force of the 
Mohawks and Nyantics, and of other natives with- 
in their own borders. When the rumor, with some 
corroborating circumstances, reached Boston, the 
Magistrates with all speed called a special meet- 
ing of the Commissioners, and, without 

■^'"^'' ^ waiting till it should take place, sent mes- 
sengers to Pessacus and Mixan, and to Ninigret, 


sachem of the Nyantics, to require their testimony 
as to the existence of the alleged plot. The chiefs 
severally denied all knowledge of it ; and they sent 
four or five messengers to give such further satis- 
faction to the Commissioners as might be desired. 
Nothing could be learned from those messengers 
in corroboration of the report. The Commission- 
ers were divided in opinion. In Massachusetts it 
was feared that Uncas, from whom the fullest in- 
formation of the conspiracy had come, was now 
designing to obtain, through a fabrication, advan- 
tages like what a disclosure of facts had formerly 
afforded him in his quarrel with Miantonomo. 
But Plymouth sided with the western colonies ; and 
the Commissioners determined to raise a 

May 2. 

force of five hundred men, and to place 
them under the command of John Leverett, of 
Massachusetts, for a war with the Dutch. 

In the mean time, Leverett and another officer 
of the Boston regiment, with Francis Newman, a 
Magistrate of New Haven, had gone to New 
Netherland to confer with Stuyvesant at his re- 
quest. They came back, not entirely satisfied 
with his behavior, but, at the same time, without 
sufficient confirmation of the suspicions which had 
been entertained. Massachusetts was becoming 
more and more averse to aggressive proceedings in 
the existing deficiency of proofs to justify them. 
The General Court now interfered, and desired, 
before things should go too far, to have " a con- 
sultation" with the Federal Commissioners by a 


committee of their own body, to be joined with 
some of the elders. 

The conference was held. Governor Eaton 
presented a written statement on one side ; 

May 25. ^ ' 

Major-General Denison presented a state- 
ment which moderately favored the other. The 
elders took the papers, and considered them for 
two days, and then delivered their judgment 
against the precipitating of hostilities. " Upon 
serious and conscientious examination," they said, 
" of the proofs produced, we cannot find them so 
fully conclusive as to clear up present proceeding 
to war before the world, and to bear up our hearts 
with that fulness of persuasion that is meet in 
commending the case to God in our prayers, and 
to his people in our exhortations." The Deputies 
were all ready to pronounce their decision. The 
next day they communicated to the Com- 
^^ ' mission ers a resolve of theirs, that " they 
did not understand they were called to make a 
present war with the Dutch." 

The Commissioners persisted. With the ex- 
ception of Bradstreet, one of the Commissioners 
for Massachusetts, they were unanimous for war; 
though there is some reason to believe that Ha- 
thorne, his colleague, and the Plymouth Commis- 
sioners, were influenced in their course by con- 
siderations of the existing attitude of the parent 
countries, rather than by a conviction of the reality 
of the plot charged upon the colonists at New 
Netherland. A committee was immediately raised 


by the General Court to report an answer to the 
question, "Whether the Connmissioners have 

June 2. 

power, by articles of agreement, lo deter- 
mine the justice of an offensive or vindictive war, 
and to engage the colonies therein ? " The sixth 
Article of Confederation authorized the Commis- 
sioners to " examine, weigh, and determine all 
affairs of war or peace." From general considera- 
tions, and from the language of other articles, the 
committee argued, in their report, that the provision 
extended no further than to matters of defensive 
war; and they concluded by declaring it to be "a 
scandal in religion, that a General Court of Chris- 
tians should be obliged to act and engage upon 
the faith of six delegates against their conscience." 
The report was appioved by both branches of the 
legislature of Massachusetts. 

This was very serious. When intelligence of 
the unexpected stand that had been made reached 
Plymouth, the General Court of that colony raised 
a committee to examine the Articles of 

_, . June 7. 

Confederation, "and give in their thoughts." 
But it does not appear that this action had any 
result. The General Court of New Haven were 
strongly incensed. They commissioned two mes- 
sengers, to be joined by two from Connecti- 
cut, to proceed to Boston with a remon- 
strance. If this should fail, they were to endeavor 
to obtain permission to enlist volunteers. New 
Haven being resolved, if this could be done, to 

embark in the war with the aid of Connecticut 
VOL. I. 24 


alone. And the General Court of New Haven 
voted, that, unless that of Massachusetts withdrew 
its objectionable interpretation of the Articles, there 
was no reason why the Commissioners should 
hold another meeting. 

This strong ground Connecticut declined to 
adopt, while acceding to the proposal to expostu- 
late with Massachusetts. The messengers did their 
errand, and brought back letters from the Governor 
and the Magistrates of that colony. Endicott said, 
that he could not answer for the General Court, 
which was not then in session ; but that he did not 
believe they would consent, " either to shed blood, 
or to hazard the shedding of their subjects' blood, 
except they could satisfy their consciences that 

God called for it; neither did he think it 

was ever at first intended so to act against their 
consciences, when they entered into confederation." 
The Magistrates frankly avowed, that, in their 
judgment, the Articles made no distinction, as to 
the power of the Commissioners, between offensive 
and defensive wars. 

At the regular time, the Commissioners for all 
four of the colonies again came together at 
^'P*^- Boston. The General Court of Massa- 
chusetts was at the same time in session. The 
Court complained to the Commissioners of the 
injustice of being pfaced, " under a dilemma, 
either to act without satisfaction against their 
light, or be accounted covenant-breakers." The 
Commissioners admitted the paramount obligation 


of the Higher Law, " We know well," they said, 
" that no authority or power in parents, magis- 
trates, commissioners, etc., doth or ought to hold 
against God or his commands. But " they added, 
" we conceive that is not the question here." 

Massachusetts conceived that it was the ques- 
tion, and would not recede. The Commissioners 
threatened to dissolve the Confederacy. The Court 
replied, that they should " acquiesce in their 
last paper, and leave the success to God." "^^^' 
But some conciliating language which was added 
was so far accepted by the Commissioners that they 
determined to refer the dispute to their respective 
General Courts, and to proceed to the ordinary 
business of the session. 

At the same time, there were transactions with 
the southern natives, besides those incident to 
their supposed conspiracy with the Dutch. It be- 
ing told that some Long Island Indians, friendly 
to the English, had suffered ill treatment from the 
Narragansetts and Nyantics, the chiefs of these 
tribes were summoned to justify them- 
selves before the Commissioners at Boston. ^*^'' 
Ninigret, the Nyantic, refused to come, and gave 
" proud, peremptory, and offensive answers " to the 
bearers of the message. Hereupon the Commis- 
sioners voted that they " conceived them- 

•' Sept. 20. 

selves called by God to make a present war " 
against him, and for this purpose they appointed 
a levy of two hundred and fifty men. Neither of 
the Commissioners from Massachusetts agreed to 


these votes. Bradstreet formally registered his dis- 
sent. And the Magistrates expressed their dissatis- 
faction, and voted that " they dared not to 

Sept. 24. ' ^ 

exercise their authority to levy forces within 
their jurisdiction to undertake a present war 
against Ninigret." 

Thus the flame, that had scarcely been kept 
under, broke out afresh. The Commissioners of 
the three smaller colonies united, not only in con- 
firming their recent action against the Nyantics, 
but in renewing their vote for war against the 
Dutch ; and they passed a resolve that " the 
Massachusetts had actually broken their covenant." 
Before things had gone so far, the General 
Court of Massachusetts had addressed them- 
selves directly to the governments of the other col- 
onies, with a proposal for " a committee, to be 
chosen by each jurisdiction, to treat and agree 
upon such explanation or reconciliation of the 
Articles of Confederation as should be consistent 
with their true meaning." After six weeks, Con- 
, necticut and New Haven made a joint re- 

Nov. 1. •' 

ply. They saw " no cause to choose or 
send a committee, either for explication or altera- 
tion of any of the Articles ; " and they renewed 
the charge of " breach of league and covenant." 
Plymouth, after some months longer, sent 
March 7. a reply of the same import. Massachu- 
June6. setts answercd each colony separately, and 
received from them a joint reply, prepared 
' " by New Haven. 


Just at this time there arrived at Boston three 
or four ships, which, with a few troops, had 
been sent out by Cromwell under the com- •'°'^^^- 
mand of Robert Sedgwick of Charlestown and 
John Leverett of Boston, for the conquest of New 
Netherland. They had a long passage, and were 
immediately followed by news of peace between 
England and Holland. Probably, so far as the 
relations with New Netherland were concerned, the 
prospect thus opened had a tendency to allay the 
dissension in the counsels of the Confederacy. Con- 
necticut had chosen her Federal Commis- 

1 1 • in May 18. 

sioners at the accustomed time ; and, after 
some debate on the question whether the Confed- 
eracy should be still sustained. New Haven juiys. 
and Plymouth followed the example, at the ^"°' ^ 
same time instructing their representatives to en- 
deavor to obtain satisfaction for the injury w^hich 
was imputed. When the Commissioners met, 
Bradstreet and Denison, in behalf of Mas- 

. Sept. 7. 

sachusetts, retracted the distinction which 
had been made as to the sense of the Articles in re- 
spect to offensive and to defensive war, and owned 
the decisions of the Commissioners to be binding 
on each and every colony, so far as they were " in 
themselves just and according to God." The Com- 
missioners accepted the explanation, and the strife 
seemed at an end. 

Though no more proof of the alleged conspiracy 
between the Indians and the New Netherlanders had 
some to light, and the parent countries of the con- 


tending colonists had made peace, the proceedings 
of Ninigi'et, who was probably emboldened by in- 
formation of the disagreement in the Confederacy, 
had, during the year, become more alarming. In 
Massachusetts, his conduct was regarded as indicat- 
ing rather ill-temper and vexation than any settled 
design of mischief; yet, as such a design might easily 
follow, and his example of defiance in refusing to 
explain himself was dangerous, the Commissioners 
from that colony could no longer take the respon- 
sibility of obstructing active measures. To bring 
him to terms, a force of forty horsemen and 

Oct. 9-13. ' "^ 

two hundred and sixty foot-soldiers was sent 
into his country under the command of Major Wil- 
lard. The expedition had no striking result. Prob- 
ably the Massachusetts commander was not in- 
structed to carry matters with a high hand. The 
weather was unfavorable for active operations. 
Ninigret had taken to a place in the woods, where 

it was hard to follow him. To two officers 

Oct. 18. 

who found him he made some promises of 
" peaceable carriage." With these Willard deter- 
mined to be content, and brousrht back his 

Oct. 24. ' ^ rr ^ 

command to Boston after only fifteen days' 
absence. The Commissioners were disappointed 
and incensed at this slender result ; but the govern- 
1055 ment of Massachusetts was of the opinion 
Sept. 19. ^jj^^ "the peace of the country, through 
the blessing of God upon the late expedition, was 
comfortably secured ; " and on the whole it was 
found that the easiest way to protect the English 


and their native friends on Long Island against 
Ninigret's insults, was to give them a frugal sup- 
ply of arms and ammunition, and employ a little 
vessel to cruise in the Sound and intercept his 

If the English found it necessary to watch against 
a constant danger from the uncertain humor of 
their Indian neighbors, they were not less thought- 
ful of promoting alike the comfort and the spiritual 
well-being of the inferior race. After the war with 
the Pequots, the captive survivors of that nation 
had been distributed among the Mohegans, the 
Narragansetts, and the Nyantics, who, for their ser- 
vices, engaged to pay a yearly tribute to the Eng- 
lish. This guardianship was liable to abuse. The 
Pequots made complaints to the English of being 
ill-treated by their masters. The irregularity of 
the payments which had been made for them 
authorized the English to interfere, which they did 
by establishing the captives in settlements of their 
own, at the same time transferring to them the 
obligation of tribute, and releasing the governing 
tribes. To the communities thus formed, the Com- 
missioners prescribed a simple system of laws, 
which they appointed native magistrates to ad- 

The enthusiasm for the conversion of the natives 
to Christianity continued to grow and spread. 
The English " Society for the Promoting ^^^ 
and Propagating of the Gospel of Jesus Sept. 5. 
Christ in New England " opened a correspondence 


with the Federal Commissioners, and made that 
body the superintendents of its local operations, — 
an arrangement which continued throughout the 
existence of the Confederacy. The society obtained 
liberal contributions in England. By the publica- 
tion of a series of memoirs it solicited the public 
attention, and made reports of progress. In the 
seventh year after its incorporation, the sums which 
it had remitted to New England amounted to more 
than seventeen hundred pounds ; and four years 
later its property yielded an annual income of six 
or seven hundred pounds. And New England peo- 
ple did not less, but more, in proportion than their 
countrymen in England. 

The Commissioners placed themselves in rela- 

jggj tions with Eliot and Mayhew ; and, as op- 
Sept.i2. portunity allowed, they employed others, 
Englishmen and natives, in the capacity of assist- 
ants to those missionaries, and in similar labors 
elsewhere. They selected young men to " be main- 
tained at Cambridge, to be educated and fitted for 
future service, to be helpful in teaching such Indian 
children as should be taken into the college for that 
end." They authorized the erection of a building 
within the college enclosure for the accommodation 
of native pupils. They made provision for print- 
ing catechisms in the Indian languages. They fur- 
nished their chief missionaries with libraries. They 
encouraged some " deserving Indians " by small 

1658. pecuniary bounties. In the eighth year 
Sept. 22. Qf ^j^gjj administration of the trust, theii 


outlay amounted to five hundred and tuenty 

Eliot continued to be indefatigable, though in 
the face of discouragements such as even his san- 
guine temper could not always disregard. The 
chiefs of the great tribes all opposed him. His 
success could not fail to impair their authority. 
" Some tribute " the converts were still " willing to 
pay, but not as formerly;" and the Commissioners 
thought it prudent to instruct Eliot to " be slow in 
withdrawing Indian professors from paying accus- 
tomed tribute, and performing other lawful service 
to their sagamores." 

The caution thus enforced upon him was scarcely 
to be reconciled with the execution of a scheme 
which he had entertained from the first, and which, 
as soon as possible, he proceeded to realize. He 
thought it material to collect his native followers 
into a separate society. He looked for some spot, 
" somewhat remote from the English, where the 
word might be constantly taught, and government 
constantly exercised, means of good subsistence 
provided, encouragements for the industrious, means 
of instructing them in letters, trades and labors, as 
building, fishing, flax and hemp dressing, planting 
orchards, etc." On Charles River, about eighteen 
miles west from Boston, he found a site, called by 
the Indians Natick, which appeared well suited to 
his purpose, and here he laid out a town. ^^^ 
AJong three streets parcels of land were en- *'"'^" 
closed, each sufficient for a dwelling, a garden, and 


an orchard. A palisaded fort was erected, and a 
"common house," containing a hall where worslup 
was conducted on Sundays, and a school was kept 
on other days. 

Eliot anticipated no practical difficulty in carry- 
ing out his scheme of a government for his collected 
converts. " I propound this," he said, " as my gen- 
eral rule through the help of the Lord ; they shall 
be wholly governed by the Scriptures in all things 
both in Church and State." He expounded 
to them the eighteenth chapter of Exodus, 
and they elected a " ruler of an hundred," two 
" rulers of fifties," and ten " rulers of tens," other- 
wise called tithing'-men. A further step was to en- 
ter, with public solemnities, " into covenant 
^ ' ■ with God and each other to be the Lord's 
people, and to be governed by the word of the Lord 
in all things." A similar community, less numer- 
ous, was collected at Punkapog, now Stoughton. 
It was for the advantage of all parties that such 
establishments should be under a wise superin- 
,„^„ tendence ; and Daniel Gookin, an Assist- 


ant, was chosen to be " ruler over the pray- 
ing Indians in the colony of Massachusetts." 

In the first communication of Thomas Mayhew, 
1651. the younger, to the Society for Propagating 
' the Gospel, he was able to report that on 
the island of Martha's Vineyard there were " an 
hundred ninety - nine men, women, and children 
that had professed themselves to be worship- 
pers of the great and ever - living God." In the 


next year the number of his converts had in- 
creased to " two hundred eighty-three In- 1553 
dians, not counting young children," and ^'='-^- 
in two places public worship was conducted by 
natives on the Lord's day. The prospect which he 
had opened was clouded over by his premature 
death. A vessel in which, with some of jg^- 
bis converts, he had embarked for England, ^°^' 
was never heard of afterwards. But the enter- 
prise was not abandoned. " Old Mr. Mayhew, his 
worthy father, struck in with his best strength and 
skill." At Sandwich, in Plymouth colony, lived Mr. 
Richard Bourne and Mr. William Leverich, both 
of whom followed, but with no striking success, in 
the steps of Eliot and Mayhew. In Connecticut, 
Mr. Richard Blindman preached to the remnant of 
the Pequots, and Mr. Abraham Pierson to his sav- 
age neighbors at Branford ; but their diligence met 
with little reward. The great southern tribes of 
Wampanoags, Narragansetts, Nyantics, and Mohe- 
gans remained unimpressed with Christian truth. 

The chief proceedings of the Commissioners, dur- 
ing the time of the most unrestricted freedom of 
the United Colonies, have been recorded in this 
and the last chapter. The course of affairs in the 
mother country, averting the danger of encroach- 
ment from that quarter, had relieved the Con- 
federacy from the heaviest of the responsibilities 
that it had been devised to meet. Among the par- 
ticulars of miscellaneous business brought before 
the Commissioners from time to time occur such 


as are indicative of the generous comprehensive- 
ness of their objects, confined, and at the same 
time illustrated, by their humble means. On in- 
formation from the corporation of Harvard College 
that " the former college buildings were in a decay- 
ing condition," the Commissioners proposed to the 
colonies, "that by pecks, half-bushels, and bushels 
of wheat, according as men were free and able, the 
college might have some considerable yearly help." 
And "to the end that the works of God and his 
goodness, which had been great towards his people 
in their first planting of this desolate wilderness, 
might never be forgotten," they requested the sev- 
eral General Courts to collect memorials of the 
past, so that " some one fitly qualified might be 
appointed and desired to compose the same into 
a history, and prepare it for the press." 



The plantations about Narragansett Bay were 
as yet incapable of a settled government. They 
needed first to learn by experience that social 
order is inconsistent with such an uncompro- 
mising individualism as they affected to maintain. 
Unorganized within themselves, they continued 
to have but a loose relation to the unity of New 

It was known that Coddington had gone to 
England, in discontent at the state of things about 
him ; but the special purpose of his voyage had 
not been disclosed. After an absence of two ^^^ 
years and a half he returned, having obtained ^priis' 
a "commission" from the Council of State 
to institute a separate government over the islands 
of Rhode Island and Conanicut. This government 
he was to administer during his life, with a Coun- 
cil to be composed of not more than six Assistants, 
who were to be nominated annually by " such free- 
holders of Newport and Portsmouth as should be 
well-affected to the government of the Common- 
wealth of England," — the choice, however, to be 
subject to the Governor's approval. 


Providence and Warwick were thus remanded to 
their original isolation. A large number of Cod- 
dington's own fellow-citizens, no fewer than sixty- 
five at Newport, and forty at Portsmouth, were 
opposed to the plan. One reason, at least, for so 
strong an opposition is to be found in religious 

A church of Baptists — or Anabaptists, as they 
were called by opponents — had been gath- 

^^' ered at Newport about the seventh year 
after the beginning of the plantation. Coddington 
did not belong to it. Its principal member was 
John Clarke, who had already been, during most 
of the time, the religious teacher as well as the 
physician of the settlement. 

Between Massachusetts and the Baptists there 
was no good-will. In the year when their church 
at Newport was founded, the General Court 
of that colony had passed a law for the ban- 
ishment of Baptists on their conviction of certain 
overt acts. A preamble to the act recited, that 
" since the first arising of the Anabaptists, about a 
hundred years since, they have been the incendiaries 
of commonwealths." The name at this period 
denoted a person very different from a mere relig- 
ious errorist. It still revived the memory of those 
flagitious proceedings in Germany which are re- 
ferred to in the statute. The position of those who 
bore it was still esteemed to be threatening to social 
security. Winslow, indeed, had affirmed in Eng- 
land, that the law v/as designed always to remain 


a dead letter, unless some extraordinary occasion 
should arise for its enforcement. And, at the time 
when it was passed, and for several years longer, 
a clergyman who denied the lawfulness of infant 
baptism was at the head of Harvard College, and 
his successor held that immersion was essential to 
the rite. Still the association between " Anabap- 
tistry " and enmity to good order survived in the 
minds of the colonial rulers. 

There can be no doubt that many of the sixty- 
five citizens of Newport and forty of Portsmouth 
who were disinclined to submit to the " commis- 
sion " of Coddington, were of the Baptist pers^ua- 
sion. It is impossible that so clear-headed a man 
as Clai'ke should have overlooked the relation into 
which he and his party were brought by the new 
state of things. Coddington's desire for a connec- 
tion with the Confederacy was no secret. Should he 
be permanently established in the local government 
according to the terms of his " commission," there 
could be no question that he would pursue that ob- 
ject. Perhaps he would even bring about a com- 
plete annexation to Massachusetts; but, should he 
do no more than become associated with her in 
the league of colonies, she would have acquired a 
power of molesting the large body of Baptists in 
Rhode Island, which power she might not be in- 
disposed to use, as was proved by a recent 1549 
transaction of hers with Plymouth, on a sim- ^*" ^* 
ilar occasion. 

Clarke saw his advantage for resistance to the 


establishment of his rival's dominion. If Massa- 
chusetts was intolerant of Baptists, and if the exe- 
cution of Coddington's scheme would place the 
Rhode Island Baptists more or less under her con- 
trol, the necessity of self-defence would admonish 
them to defeat that scheme. Clarke knew that for 
seven years a law had existed in Massachusetts 
which his presence in that colony would affront. 
Indeed, seven years earlier yet, he had gone away 
under circumstances making it next to certain, that, 
if he had not departed voluntarily, he would have 
been expelled. 

Fourteen years he was content to stay away from 
Massachusetts. In the fifteenth he was prompted 
to go thither. The time which he chose for his 
movement discloses the motive. The precise day 
of Coddington's arrival from England with his 
" commission " is not known. But it seems to 
have been when his arrival was expected from week 
to week, or even from day to day, that Clarke un- 
dertook his journey. Clarke was a man of influ- 
ence and authority. His personal character, his 
sacred office, and his newly acquired position of 
Assistant in the government, placed him promi- 
nently before the people. He was a man of dis- 
cernment and of action. He felt no reluctance to 
expose himself to personal inconvenience for the 
furtherance of what he accounted a good public 
object. And he judged well, that, at this moment, 
some striking practical evidence of the hostility of 
Massachusetts to Baptists would be efficacious to 


excite his Rhode Island friends to oppose the as- 
cendency of Coddington. 

With two companions, John Crandall, of New- 
port, and Obadiah Holmes, minister of a Baptist 
congregation at Seekonk, Clarke proceeded 1551 
to Lynn, ten miles on the further side of •'"'y^^- 
Boston. The ostensible object was to visit a sick 
and aged friend, William Witter, who, " brother 
in the church " of Baptists as he was, had been 
living in Lynn unmolested. 

The next day after the travellers reached their 
journey's end was Sunday, and Clarke was preach- 
ing to a small company in Witter's housCj when 
two constables appeared with a warrant. They 
took him and his companions to the meeting-house 
of the town, where Clarke " put on his hat, and so 
sat down, opened his book, and fell to reading." 
They were sent to Boston for trial, and 
Clarke was sentenced to pay a fine of twenty 
pounds, Holmes of thirty pounds, and Crandall of 
five pounds, for holding a private service at Lynn ; 
for disturbing the public service ; for asserting " that 
the church of Lynn was not constituted according 
to the order of our Lord ; " for " seducing and 
drawing aside of others ; " and for what was con- 
sidered offensive behavior in Court. 

As was usual at that time, when a person fined 
had not property to be levied upon within the 
jurisdiction of the Court, they were further sen- 
tenced to be punished by whipping as the alter- 
native. The gaoler paid Crandall's fine. Holmes 

VOL. I. 25 


refused to have the same kindness done for him ; it 
would have prevented the full effect he desired to 
produce. But it may be hoped that the minister 
of the law was instructed to do his office forbear- 
ingly, as Holmes said he was so little hurt that he 
" in a manner felt it not," and that he had been 
"struck as with roses." " Some friends" paid 
Clarke's fine, " contrary to his counsel," as he de- 
clared, and he went back to Newport, which place 
he must have reached in season to publish his ex- 
periences a very few days before or after the arrival 
there of Coddington with his " commission." 

If, as is probable, arrangements were already in 
progress for Clarke to proceed to England to make 
interest for a reversal of the recent action of the 
government in Coddington's favor, there was yet 
another strong reason for his being provided with 
a recent case of persecution of Baptists by Massa- 
chusetts. In fact, before the winter, he sailed upon 
that mission. Exertions were at the same time 
made to speed the hitherto fruitless plan of de- 
spatching Williams as the envoy of the main-land 
settlements. But they effected nothing or little. 
He provided for himself by selling his property in 
the Indian country, and embarked for England at 
or about the same time with Clarke. Though act- 
ing for different parties, the business of both was 
to solicit a repeal of the order creating Codding- 
ton's government. 

It is probable that Nicholas Easton had been 
rechosen President of the " Providence Planta- 


tious," and that he abdicated that place when Cod- 
dington assumed the powers conferred by the "com- 
mission." The now truncated colony, consisting but 
of the two towns on the main-land, elected Gorton 
to be its President. He was succeeded in the next 
year by John Smith, of Warwick ; and in jg^g 
the following spring the choice fell upon ^*yi*- 
Gregory Dexter, of Providence,.during whose term 
of office the four towns were reunited, as will be 
hereafter seen. 

Williams and Clarke, leaving America after 
Gorton's election, reached London just before the 
breaking out of the Dutch war, and some months 
passed before they could secure attention. Sir 
Henry Vane interested himself in their be- jggg. 
half, and Coddington's " commission" was ^*"^- 
provisionally revoked by the Council of State, a 
year and a half after it had been issued. The in- 
strument of revocation recited that intelligence had 
reached the Council of such misbehavior on the part 
of Coddington as had caused " the whole colony " 
to be " exposed as a prey to the Dutch, the enemies 
of the English Commonwealth." Clarke must have 
been as lucky as ingenious to satisfy the Council 
of the justness of this charge against his rival ; but 
in consideration of this, and of other " great mat- 
ters of complaint," perhaps equally well estab- 
lished, the Council authorized the " Magistrates 
and free inhabitants of Providence Plantations" 
to " take care for the peace and quiet thereof until 
further direction should be given by the Parliament 


or the Council." William Dyer, who had accom- 
panied or followed the envoys, now leaving 
^*' them in England, brought home the im- 
portant fruit of their labors. 

Coddington was powerless, and withdrew ; but 
his retirement helped little towards a resettlement. 
Everything seemed in unmanageable disorder. At 
Warwick, Gorton had his old friend Warner de- 
graded from the place of Assistant and dis- 
franchised, "upon suspicion of insufferable 
treachery." At Providence, the General Sergeant 

and Solicitor - General of the colony was 
Dec. •' 

arraigned and tried for treason. The in- 
strument brought over by Dyer gave authority to 
the " magistrates and free inhabitants " to " take 
and seize Dutch ships and vessels," and recom- 
mended Dyer as " a fit man to be employed there- 
in." Accordingly the Rhode Islanders set up pri- 
1653. vateering, and issued commissions to three 
May 24. Qfgcgj-g for scrvicc against New Netherland ; 
a measure which Providence and Warwick con- 
demned, and they passed a vote disfranchising its 
friends. Of the officers chosen,^ one was Mrs. 
Hutchinson's eccentric disciple, John Underbill, 
who was not particular as to the colors under 
which he served, and who had been losing credit 
with his recent Dutch masters. Another was Dyer 
himself, who was " ruined by party contentions with 
Mr. Cottington," and in his necessity turned free- 
booter, if a representation of the town of Provi- 
dence to Sir Henry Vane is to be credited, " plung- 


ing himself and some others in most unnecessary 
and unrighteous plundering, both of Dutch and 
French, and English also." Captain Hull inter- 
preted his commission from Rhode Island so liber- 
ally as to capture a French ship. Captain Baxter 
seized a vessel belonging to the town of Barn- 
stable in Plymouth colony. The same commander 
took a Dutch prize into Fairfield, in New Haven, 
whither he was pursued by two Dutch armed ves- 
sels, who proceeded to blockade the port. The 
distracted community was fertile in ways of be- 
ing troublesome to its neighbors. 

The removal of Coddington's obstrtiction, as it 
was called, should have been a restoration of the 
order of things established under Williams's patent 
for the " Providence Plantations." But how to 
bring this about, when disagreement with one 
another and within themselves was the normal 
condition of these plantations? The main-landers 
and the islanders could not even agree upon a 
place where they should meet to receive the order 
from the Council of State ; and, determined alike 
to have their own way or none, Newport and 
Portsmouth chose one board of Magistrates, and 
Providence and Warwick another, to administer 
the government over the four towns. 

In this condition they were found by Roger 
Williams when he came from England, a ^^^ 
year and a half after sending over the Coun- ''"°*' 
oil's order. He told them frankly of the bad repu- 
tation they had established wherever they were 


known, and implored them not to persist in "dis- 
franchising humanity and love." Aided by a letter 
which he brought from Sir Henry Vane, rebuking 
them with that eloquence which Vane could com- 
mand and with a severity in some proportion to 
their deserts, Williams prevailed to obtain a hear- 
ing; the government, as it had been constituted 
seven years before under his own patent, was 
restored, and again Williams, as President, 
^P*-^- was elected to put it in operation. 

At or about this time there were two hundred 
and forty -seven freemen in the four towns; 
namely, ninety-six in Newport, seventy-one in 
Portsmouth, forty-two in Providence, and thirty- 
eight in Warwick. Measures, successful after 
three or four years, were in train for rounding the 
colony by the adjustment of the long dispute re- 
specting Pawtuxet. Massachusetts was getting 
tired of asserting her claim, and the original pur- 
pose of it had long ago been answered. Plymouth 
was no less indifferent. The number of English 
at Pawtuxet had been reduced by removals, till 
only four heads of families remained. Two of 

iggg these desired to attach themselves to the 

^°'' new government; the other two did not 
care to oppose ; and Pawtuxet became again an 
appendage of Providence, as it had originally 

Williams had a troubled administration of two 
years. The license, which in his green as:e 

1664- 1665. f ' 5 & 

be had encouraged, was now too strong for 


him to control. There was a riot at Providence, 
" under pretence of a voluntary training." A re- 
forming citizen addressed a letter to the town, 
maintaining that it was " blood-guiltiness, and 
against the rule of the gospel, to execute judg- 
ment upon transgressors against the public or pri- 
vate weal." A law against striking any person in 
Court indicates a certain rudeness of inter- isoo. 


course. The colony being " rent and torn 
with divisions," an order passed for sending ring- 
leaders to be tried in England. Coddington was 
suspected of being hostile to the govern- jg^g 
ment, and even of furnishing arms to the ^^"^'"^ "• 
Indians. Harris, who had been one of Williams's 
early associates and friends, published arguments 
not only against " the authority of his Highness," 
the Lord Protector, but against the rightful exist- 
ence of " all earthly powers, and in open 

Court protested, before the whole Colony Assembly, 
that he would maintain his writings with his 
blood." Williams had him arraigned for j^g- 
high treason. But it would seem that the '^^^ ^^" 
President miscalculated his power ; for, the annual 
election taking place at this time, he was super- 
seded in the chief magistracy by Benedict Arnold, 
of Pawtuxet, the young man who, as interpreter 
for the Indians, had incurred the hatred of Gor- 
ton's party. Williams was never again employed 
in any office higher than that of Assistant. Nor 
did Coddington, Coggeshall> or Easton, for several 
years afterwards, occupy any higher station. 


The most important of the events which occurred 
in New England in the years that immediately fol- 
lowed the confederation took place, as they- have 
been related, in Massachusetts and on Narrangan- 
sett Bay. In the three smaller confederate colonies, 
the tranquil course of events has left less to be re- 
corded. Plymouth, the nearest neighbor of the 
turbulent settlers on Narragansett Bay, was unas- 
piring and poor. Her government was careful to 
keep on good terms with the rising power in Eng- 
land. In the next summer after the King's execu- 
tion, the freemen unanimously concluded to con- 

jg^g tinue the existing administration in place, 

June 6. Yvithout a ucw choicc ; a course probably 
adopted because the royal authority was recog- 
nized in the oaths of office which had been in use. 

jg.2 Plymouth kept a day of thanksgiving for 

March 2. Cromwcll's vjctory at Worcester, and made 

preparations to engage in his war with the Dutch, 

and to assist in his projected expedition to New 


At the end of the first twenty-five years of the 
town of Plymouth, its importance in relation to 
the rest of the colony of that name had been 
much diminished. " Many having left the place, 
by reason of the straitness and barrenness of the 
same, and their finding of better accommodations 

elsewhere, the church began seriously to 

think whether it were not better jointly to remove 

to some other place Many meetings and 

much consultation was held hereabout ; " the 


result of which was, that " the greater part 


consented to a removal," and several fami- 
lies established themselves at Nauset, which ,„., 

' 1651. 

town — the ninth in the colony — took, a 
few years later, the name of Eustham. But if the 
town had suffered a decline, and the church was 
dispersed, the colony, in the measure of its scanty 
means, was prosperous and energetic ; and no 
member of the Confederacy was more prompt and 
liberal in its offerings to the common welfare. 

Through Winslow's assiduity, Plymouth ob- 
tained from Parliament a confirmation and en- 
largement of its property on the Kennebec, and 
Thomas Prince was despatched to that ^^^ 
river to organize a local administration, to ^""'*^' 
be conducted by himself and Assistants chosen by 
the inhabitants. In the month of Cromwell's 
death, a second revised collection of the jg-g 
laws of Plymouth was published by the ^^'^^' 
General Court. It was prefaced by a declaration 
that no other laws were of authority within the 
jurisdiction, but such as were " imposed by con- 
sent of the body of associates, or their represen- 
tatives legally assembled." The freemen of the 
eleven towns that constituted the colony were 
now about three hundred in number. No person 
could become an inhabitant without the permission 
of the municipal authorities ; and the right of ex- 
pulsion was freely exercised. The churches were 
not so flourishing, nor so well provided with a 
ministry, as those of the other confederate colonies. 


The General Court repeatedly took measures to 
stimulate the towns to their duty in this respect; 
and on one occasion Massachusetts went so far as 
to make the remissness of Plymouth the subject of 
a representation to the Federal Commissioners. 

In New Haven and Connecticut, the Indians 
near the towns were more numerous than in 
Massachusetts and Plymouth ; but the disturb- 
ances made by them, though not infrequent, were 
seemingly without plan, and the simple methods 
of repression which became necessary were dic- 
tated by local exigencies. The new settlement 
of Branford, a few miles east of New Haven, and 
that of Farmington, a short distance from Hart- 
ford, to the west, brought the two colonies nearer 
to each other. But a more important extension of 
the settlements of Connecticut was made in the 
opposite direction, under the auspices of a man 
who brought to her a large accession of means 
and of character. 

In the year of the confederation, John Winthrop, 
the younger, son of the Governor of Massa- 

1643 o ' 

chusetts, returned to that colony from Eng- 
land. He " brought with him a thousand pounds 
stock, and divers workmen, to begin an iron-work." 
He formed a joint-stock company, and began 
operations at Braintree. But, though favored by 
the General Court with bounties and immunities, 
the enterprise miscarried, and, after three years, 
Winthrop transferred his attention to a different 
object. With Thomas Peter, brother of Hugh 


Peter, of Salem, he besan, at the mouth of 

, . , . 1646. 

the Pequot River, a plantation, which the 
General Court gave them authority " for ordering 
and governing till further order." It lay within 
the territory which was known to be claimed by 
Connecticut, by right of conquest from the Pe- 
quots. But " it mattered not to which jurisdiction 
it did belong, seeing the confederation made all 
as one ; but it was of great concernment to have it 
planted, to be a curb to the Indians, etc." It was 
at the very doors of Uncas, who, with all motives 
for obsequiousness to the English, had to be looked 
after with a sleepless eye. Winthrop desired to 
have his settlement remain a dependency of 
Massachusetts ; but the Commissioners de- i647. 
cided that it belonged to Connecticut, and juiy26 
from that colony he presently received a Sept. 9. 
commission to govern it. Davenport and his 
friends at New Haven urged him strongly to take 
up his abode with them, partly on account of his 
skill in medicine; while Roger Williams, in the 
woods on the other side, cherished the hope that 
some turn of atfairs might attach Winthrop's set- 
tlement to the Narragansett towns, and make him 
their governor. 

A system of written law for Connecticut bears 
an early date. A compilation was made of jggo 
existing statutes, with additions from the '^'•''•• 
code of Massachusetts. It was prefaced by a Bill 
of Rights, which was but a transcript of that of 
the older colony. 


Connecticut increased more rapidly than any 
other of the confederate colonies, except Massa- 
chusetts. Near the eastern border, the settlement 
at the mouth of Pequot River, before long to be 
known by the name of New London, was acquiring 
1649-1651 importance. The buildings and works at 
Saybrook were restored after a fire. East 

jg49 Hampton, a fishing-station near the eastern 

Nov. 7. gjjj q£ Long Island, was annexed to the 

colony. On a little stream which empties into the 

jggQ sound, some twenty families from Hartford 

•'"''*• made a settlement, to which they gave the 
name of Norwalk. Middletown, on Connecticut 

jg53 River, was founded by a party collected from 

^^'- Hartford and Wethersfield, with others from 
Massachusetts, and a few just arrived from Eng- 
land. Including Southampton and East Hamp- 
ton, on Long Island, Connecticut had now twelve 
towns. Seven hundred and seventy-five persons 
were taxed in the colony, and their aggregate prop- 
erty was valued at seventy-nine thousand pounds. 

Connecticut embraced with eagerness the scheme 
of the Protector for the conquest of New Neth- 
erland. On the arrival of the fleet despatched 

jgg^ by Cromwell for that purpose, messengers 
June 13. were despatched to offer the colony's share 
of a confederate force of fifteen hundred men. 
From her position Connecticut was especially ex- 
posed to annoyance from the marauders commis- 
sioned by Rhode Island. One of them, Baxter, 
being caught within the limits of the colony, was 


sentenced to restore his Barnstable prize, and to 
pay heavy damages, besides a fine of fifty ^ ^jg 
pounds for his " insolent carriages." Un- 

' ^ 1653. 

derhill sailed up to the Dutch house at Hart- June 27. 
ford, and posted upon it a notice that it was 
seized by him as belonging to " enemies of the 
Commonwealth of England." He sold it twice 
over, and made conveyances of it to two parties. 
But the Magistrates " sequestered and re- ^^^ 
served it," paying no attention to his claim. *p"'^ 

After the death of Haynes, and the departure of 
Hopkins from the colony, Thomas Welles and 
John Webster were each at the head of the gov- 
ernment for one year. A higher degree of capacity 
than theirs was probably desired for the highest 
place ; and the choice next fell upon John jg.- 
Winthrop, of New London. His adminis- ^*y2i. 
tration of that office, connected with a long series 
of important events, was inaugurated by transac- 
tions indicative of the orderly and vigorous policy 
of the community over which he was to preside. 
The General Court by which he was elected was 
the first to carry into effect a rule to submit the 
question of the admission of every freeman to the 
vote of the central government of the colony. It 
raised a troop of horse, the first that had been en- 
rolled. And in Winthrop's first year of office, the 
ecclesiastical policy of Massachusetts was followed 
in a law forbidding the formation of a church "with- 
out cons'ent of the General Court, and approba- 
tion of the neighbor churches." Connecticut, at 


her separate charge, employed missionaries among 
the Indians ; and she was a liberal patron of Har- 
vard College. 

The protracted disputes with the Dutch and In- 
dians, which have been mentioned as agitating the 
two youngest members of the Confederacy, bore es- 
pecially hard upon New Haven. When that colony 
jg^.^ despaired of the cooperation of Massachu- 
oct. 12. gettg i,^ hostilities against New Netherlandj 
it proceeded to solicit the Lord General, both by 
letters and by a special messenger. The intelli- 
gence of the arrival at Boston of the expedi- 

June9. ° . ^ 

tion under Sedgwick and Leverett gave the 

liveliest satisfaction to the people of New Haven. 

Thev levied a rate of two hundred pounds, 

June 23. ^ ^ 

raised a force of a hundred and thirty-three 
men, and pressed vessels for transports. The col- 
jggg ouy, cxtcuding so far westward as to in- 
oct. 6. gi^fje Greenwich on the Dutch border, now 
comprehended seven towns, being the largest num- 
ber that it ever possessed. 

The policy of New Haven as to the public ex- 
penditure was generous. Magistrates were liber- 
ally provided for. Before the earliest town was 
ten years old, it had projected the establishment 
of a college. It " raised above three hun- 
^^^' dred pound to encourage the work," and Mil- 
ford pledged another hundred. The scheme proved 
to be premature ; and for the present these distant 
plantations were content to expend their judicious 
bounty on the college of the older colony, to which 


the Governor did not fail frequently to invite their 
attention, reminding them to send their yearly con- 
tributions of corn. Before the first English child 
born in New Haven had attained its major- jg^- 
ity, " it was propounded that the Court ^^J 27. 
would think of some way to further the setting up 
of schools for the education of youth." Still earlier, 
the town had " provided that a schoolmaster should 
be maintained at the public charge, and Milford 
had made provision in a comfortable way." And 
imitation of the example was, by an order of the 
General Court, soon enforced on all the towns of 
the colony. 

The tranquillity which succeeded in New Haven 
to the preparations for Dutch and Indian wars had 
given opportunity for the completion of a body of 
laws. In compliance with a request of the Genersil 
Court, Governor Eaton presented a com- jg^g 
pilation of such earlier orders as he con- *^y* 
sidered " most necessary to continue." He was 
desired to have it printed in London, after compar- 
ing it with the Massachusetts laws and the com- 
pend of John Cotton, and, with the approbation 
of the elders, making such additions " as he should 
think fit;" — a singular illustration of the confi- 
dence reposed in him and his clerical advisers. 
The code contains none of the provisions known 
in New England fable under the name of Blue 
Laws. Tiie existence of such laws as have been 
called by that name is, so, has been already told, 
the fabrication of a refugee clergyman of Connec- 
ticut late in the eighteenth century. 



After the death of Governor Winthrop, John 

Endicott was always, except during two years, 

chief magistrate of Massachusetts, till, at the age 

of seventy -seven, he died. During this 

period Dudley and Bellingham each filled 

^^^' the office for one term. In the administra- 
tions of both, Endicott was Deputy-Governor; and 
when Endicott held the first place, Dudley held the 
second, till the last year of his own life, as Bel- 
lingham did after that time without interruption. 

By many titles Dudley might seem to be marked 
as Winthrop's natural successor. But he was 
already old when Winthrop died, and it is prob- 
able that infirmities had overtaken him. Bel- 
lingham was a man of great capacity, and at a 
later period rendered excellent service. But the 
native impetuosity of his character was not yet 
tempered by years, and it may be supposed that 
his course of factious opposition to Winthrop had 
brought upon him an amount of displeasure which 
time was needed to overcome. By some of the 
statesmanlike qualities of his admirable predecessor, 
Endicott was not distinguished. But if he would 


not have been competent to strike out a new path, 
he had steadiness and courage to advance in that 
which had been opened and levelled for him. Bos- 
ton had almost always hitherto been the Govern- 
or's residence ; and it may be that in the election 
of Endicott the rival claim of Essex County ob- 
tained consideration. 

The period which began with the Common- 
wealth of England, and reached beyond it by five 
years, might be called, in relation to Massachu- 
setts, the period of Endicott's administration ; since 
within that time he was scarcely discharged from 
the chief magistracy often enough to suggest that 
it was not intended to be vested for life. During 
the first half of the time, Massachusetts extended 
her confines in two opposite directions. 

Between the Paucatuck River, which now makes 
part of the western boundary of the State of Rhode 
Island, and the Mystic River, by which stood the 
Pequot fort destroyed by Captain Mason, a tract 
had been selected for a plantation by William 
Chesebrough, who went thither from Reho- ^^ 
both. He was joined by others ; and the ques- 
tion having arisen whether his settlement belonged 
to Connecticut or to Massachusetts, which latter 
colony claimed it as part of her share in the spoil 
of the Pequot war, the Federal Commissioners were 
appealed to by the parties. They decided that 
the Mystic should be the boundary between the 
respective portions of the conquered soil ; and 
Chesebrough's settlement, known in later times 

VOL. I. 26 


as Stonington, received from the General Court of 
Massachusetts a municipal organization with the 
name of Southertown. 

While Massachusetts thus spread herself south- 
wardly to Long Island Sound, she received a large 
accession of territory on the northeast. Maine and 
Lygonia, provinces separated by the River Kenne- 
bunk, and belonging respectively to Gorges and 
to Rigby, had been neglected by their proprietors 
amid the distractions of the times. In both prov- 
inces there were numbers who were dissatisfied 
with the existing lax state of things. Some de- 
sired a different settlement under new charters ; 
others were inclined to follow the example of the 
Piscataqua towns, and place themselves under the 
government of Massachusetts. The charter of 
Massachusetts granted a territory having for its 
northern boundary a line extending westward from 
the Atlantic Ocean, on a parallel of latitude three 
miles north of the most northerly part of the River 
Merrimack. The General Court had obtained some 
knowledge of the geography of the region, and of 
their apparent right under this clause to lands ear- 
lier granted to themselves, but now claimed by 
the representatives of Gorges and Rigby. Present 
circumstances plainly favored their producing the 
claim, and obtaining a recognition of it, which would 
be for the advantage of the settlers as well as for their 
own. Commissioners sent to Maine first obtained, 
though not without opposition, the submission of 
the inhabitants of Kittery, a settlement which had 


grown up at the mouth of the Piscataqua, opposite 
to Strawberry Bank (Portsmouth). Kittery was 
constituted by the Commissioners a town 1552. 
of Massachusetts, within a new " county or ^'°'-^- 
shire, which was called by the name of Yorkshire." 
The inhabitants received the franchise of the col- 
ony on the sole condition of taking the freeman's 
oath, independent of the religious or any other test, 
and were authorized to send two Deputies to the 
General Court. 

Such liberal dealing was followed by what must 
be supposed to have been its intended effect. The 
inhabitants of Agamenticus gladly accepted 
the same terms as had been made with 
Kittery, and their town received the name of York. 
The next year a similar course was taken 1653. 
with the three principal settlements further •'"'y*- 
east; namely, Wells, Saco, and Cape Porpoise 
(now Kennebunk Port). They also were incor- 
porated into the County of York, though without 
the privilege, as yet, of being represented in the 
General Court. Another enlargement soon took 
place, which extended the dominion of Massachu- 
setts to the shores of Casco Bay. The planters at 
Black Point, at Spurwink, at Blue Point (which 
received the name of Scarborough), and at Casco 
Bay (which assumed that of Falmouth), jgjg 
took the oath of allegiance to Massachu- •'"'>i3. 
setts, and received its franchise. They were but 
twenty-nine in number, and thirteen of them signed 
the oath with a mark. 


Such a steady extension of a domain won by 
herself from the wilderness was more alluring to 
Massachusetts than were other prospects which 
were opened to her by the friendship of the ruler 
of England. When Cromwell had conquered Ire- 
land, and had next to consider how it was to be 
kept in subjection and in order, he bethought him- 
self of the Puritans across the water, now probably 
some thirty thousand in number, and he made over- 
tures foi- their establishment in the sister island. 
But his proposal was not received with favor. They 
had taken root where they were, and there, in their 
judgment, the objects of greatest interest to them 
might be best pursued. Perhaps they did not 
overlook the possibility of a not distant restoration 
of the old order of things in Great Britain. Endi- 
cott wrote to Cromwell for the General Court, that 

1651. ^h^y were enjoying health, plenty, peace, the 

*'*"■ liberty and ordinances of the gospel, and 
an opportunity for spreading the knowledge of it 
among savages ; and that, content with these bless- 
ings, they had no desire to change their abode. 

Cromwell sought their services in another sphere. 

jgg5 He had wrested from Spain the West Indian 
May 10. jsiauj Qf Jamaica. Edward Winslow, of 
Plymouth, was one of his commissioners in charge 
of the expedition, and John Sedgwick, of Mas- 
sachusetts, was made governor of the island. 
Jamaica had only fifteen hundred white inhabi- 
tants. Daniel Gookin, who was then in London, 
was sent home by Cromwell, with proposals to the 


people of New England to emigrate to his new 
possession. "He did apprehend," he told them, 
" the people of New England had as clear a call to 
transport themselves from thence to Jamaica, as 
they had from England to New England, in order 
to their bettering their outward condition, God 
having promised his people should be the head, 
and not the tail ; besides that design had his ten- 
dency to the overthrow of the man of sin." He 
offered them lands on the easiest terms, immunity 
from taxes and customs for a period of years, free 
transportation, and other inducements. But he 
proposed himself to appoint their highest magis- 
trates; and this alone would have been an insur- 
mountable obstacle, had there been no other, to their 
acceptance of his offer. The Court returned " their 
thankful acknowledgment of his Highness's jg^g 
favor," and assured him that he should al- oct.24. 
ways have their prayers; but, with periphrastic 
phraseology, such as they could trust him to under- 
stand, they declined to engage themselves in his 

They might well be satisfied with their condi- 
tion and their prospects. Everything was pros- 
pering with them. They had established com- 
fortable homes, which they felt strong enough to 
defend against any power but the power of the 
mother country ; and that now was friendly. They 
had always the good will of Cromwell. In rela- 
tion to them he allowed his Navigation Act, which 
pressed hard on the loyalist colonists further south, 


to become a dead letter; and they received the com- 
modities of all nations free of duty, and sent their 
ships at will to the ports of continental Europe. 
For twenty years there had been no serious dissen- 
sion in Church or State ; the affairs of both had, 
on the whole, been conducted to the general con- 
tent. There had been time for attachment to the 
soil to mature ; for a sense of national character to 
be formed ; for society to be moulded into such a 
shape as makes it strong and thrifty through the 
fit action of its members in their several places. 
Prescription had both familiarized and legitimated 
the methods of local administration. The educa- 
tion of the rising generation had been provided for. 
Every child old enough to leave its mother's side 
was at school. Ninety-eight young men had been 
trained at the college by teachers who had been 
ornaments of the great English seats of learning. 
It is impossible not to admire the wisdom of 
those who watched over the honor and interests 
of Massachusetts during that period of her history 
which coincides with the ascendency of the myste- 
rious Dictator of England. To his Council for the 
Colonies she carefully forbore to make any such 
solicitation as would have been an acknowledgment 
of its authority. When England made Cromwell a 
monarch, Massachusetts preserved a steady silence. 
He went to war with the Dutch, and proposed 
to her to help him conquer the Dutch colony on 
her border : treating the demand as subject to 
her own consent or refusal, she " gave liberty to 


his Highness's commissioners" to enroll five hun- 
dred volunteers, if they could find so many. In- 
formed by her agent in England that there jgsi. 
was a scheme for requiring a new patent for ^^-^ 
her domain to be taken out, and courts to be kept 
in the name of Parliament, she waited for the 
favorable time to reply, and finding it when the 
war between England and Holland broke out, pro- 
claimed the chartered right of her people ^^^ 
"to live under the government of a Gov- Oct. 23. 
ernor and Magistrates of their own choosing, and 
under laws of their own making." 

It was within this period that Massachusetts 
undertook to exercise the sovereign prerogative of 
coining money. The brisk trade with the West 
Indies introduced a quantity of Spanish silver; 
and along with it there was " much counterfeit 
coin brought into the country, and much loss ac- 
cruing in that respect." The General Court estab- 
lished a mint, and appointed John Hull, a 1(552. 
goldsmith, to be mint-master. He was to •'"°"^''- 
receive " bullion, plate, or Spanish coin," and con- 
vert it " into twelve-penny, six-penny, and three- 
penny pieces," each of which was to contain three 
quarters as much silver as the English sterling coin 
of the same denomination. This coinage was con- 
tinued for more than thirty years, and different 
dies were in use from time to time ; but all the 
money of the denominations now specified pre- 
served the date of the year when the mint was 
established. Ten years later, a coinage began of 


pieces of the value of two pence, which likewise 

always bore the name of the year when the pieces 

of that denomination were first issued. 

The course of many of the principal founders 

had now been run. Bradford was in his sixty- 

1657. eighth year when he died, having been for 

May 9. thirty - scven years the foremost man of 

Plymouth Colony, and having, by several years, 

survived Brewster, his earliest friend among the 

jggg colonists. Standish, the soldier of the col- 

o«'-3- Q,jy^ |jad died a few months before him. 

Edward Winslow had not returned to finish his 

days in Plymouth. Associated by Cromwell with 

the General and Admiral in the conduct of the ex- 

1655. pedition against the Spanish West Indies, 

^*^ ® he sickened and died, a few days before it 

effected the conquest of Jamaica. In New Haven, 

jl^i *^e services and the life of Theophilus Eaton 

1664. were brought to a close together ; in Con- 

Marchi. jjggticut, the scrvlces and the life of John 

July 31. Haynes ; in Massachusetts, those of Thomas 

1652. Dudley and John Cotton. Edward Hop- 
Dec 23 . 

kins died in England in high office, having 

Marcii. left Connecticut four years before, with the 

intention of only a short absence.